Community leaders call for second bridge for Hayling Island

Brexit trade fears to be raised at MP lunch

Campaigners are hoping to get funding for a second Hayling bridge to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians to cross to the island.

Paul Fisher, chairman of the Hayling Island Residents' Association, says there needs to be a way of safely crossing to the mainland on foot and on a bicycle without having to dodge fast cars. Part of the bridge has a cycle path but it stops abruptly half way and cyclists then have to get on the road or dismount.

Mr Fisher has widespread support for the idea but now needs the financial backing which he hopes will come from Sustrans, the UK's leading sustainable transport charity.

The charity secured funding to improve the Hayling Billy trail from Langstone Road to Hayling bridge.

Mr Fisher said: 'We want a bridge parallel to the current road bridge. The fact is that the bridge is unsafe.

'In the past we had all the drawings done, estimates, but the county council did not want to spend any money.'

In 2004 the residents' association commissioned an engineering firm to put together an estimate which came in at 600,000 for a strap-on leisure bridge but were turned down for funding from the 3.3m Liveability grant given to Havant Borough Council. In 2007 they were again turned down for lottery funding.

David Willetts, MP for Havant, has thrown his weight behind the new campaign.

He said: 'I've long believed in this. It is essential for cyclists and pedestrians to have a safe route on and off the island especially since the Hayling Billy trail has been improved.

'Five years ago I came round to the view that the best solution would be to strap a bicycle and pedestrian bridge to the side of the bridge.

'The challenge of course is quite simply finding the money. I've been talking about it with Sustrans over the past few months and they support it.

'The problem is money is just incredibly tight at the moment. But we need to look at it in the long term because I do think it is massively important that we get safe access across the bridge.

'Cyclists always have the dilemma of whether to go on the pavement or the road.

'It's a very busy road but if you're on the pavement there is a danger you will get entangled with pedestrians.'

Nick Farthing, the regional manager of Sustrans, said: 'We're working closely with the local authorities, particularly around improving the links north and south of the bridge.

'It is not going to be easy because of the environmental issues. But we're on the case and working hard with the borough and county councils, local groups and at a national level.

'There isn't any money at the moment but we are looking at funding streams. We need to get everyone round the table and decide how we're going to fund it.'

CAMPAIGN GROUP

TWO Hayling mums have set up a campaign group to support cyclists on the island.

Sue Underwood and Lesley Berry founded Cycle Hayling, after meeting just a few months ago.

Together they decided to push for better cycling infrastructure on the island which has a large cycling community.

Mrs Underwood, a 47 year-old mum of two, said: 'I like to cycle around the island and I felt I had to do something because there isn't a single inch of dedicated cycle track here. We have the leisure trail but that is for cyclists, walkers and horse riders.

'We live in the north and my son's school is in the south and there is no safe cycle route there.'

The group will be working with local schools, commuters and businesses to try and set up cycle links.

To find out more go to hayling-cycle-ride.org.uk/cyclehayling.php or register your interest at Hayling library.

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