COUNCILLORS have given the go-ahead to a new cycle path – despite safety concerns.
It has been 10 years in the planning and will follow the railway track from Warblington train station to Havant town centre, linking up with the Hayling Billy Trail cycle track.
Part of the 760-yard track will cut through the fields belonging to Warblington School and it is hoped it will become a safe route to school for pupils.
But a large part will not be lit, leading to fears over the safety of people using it at night.
A housing development is planned for the field which the western part of the cycle path runs through. It may be upgraded once work starts on the housing development.
In a report by Hampshire Constabulary to Havant Borough Council’s planning committe, CCTV and lighting was recommended for the entire length.
And Clifford Smith, from Warblington Residents’ Association, said: ‘Although we support this application we have some concerns.
‘I disagree with the planning officers on the lighting and CCTV. Community safety should be paramount.’
Councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray, disagreed.
He said: ‘The Billy Trail is not lit and there are many cycle paths that are not lit in the borough.
‘Sometimes the fear of crime is worse than crime itself. We’re trying to reduce cameras.’
Nick Farthing from Sustrans, the national cycle path organisation, which is supporting the application by the borough council, said it was usual not to light cycle paths but they could consider using solar-powered lights.
Urging his colleagues on the planning committee to support the application Cllr Gibb-Gray said: ‘We’ve had nine years of delay and I don’t want that increased.’
The planning committee voted in favour of the plans.
The council now has to find funding but it will not come out of its coffers and is likely to come from Sustrans.
The path will form part of the National Route 2 linking cycle paths across the south of England.