Plea to improve cycle route across Fareham town centre

MP for Havant, Alan Mak

MP Alan Mak named a senior parliamentary aide in government reshuffle

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CALLS have been made to improve the visibility of a cross-town cycle route now that cyclists have been banned from the middle of Fareham.

An experimental traffic order to make the town’s West Street precinct area more pedestrian friendly has now been made permanent by Fareham Borough Council’s ruling executive.

The order, which has been in place on a trial basis for the past year, bans bike-riders from the precinct between 9am and 5pm.

Anyone caught by police or PCSOs will now be fined. The level of fine will depend on the nature and severity of the offence.

But in a deputation to the executive, Cllr Jim Forrest, leader of the opposition Lib Dem group, said he did not want people to be discouraged from cycling into the town. He said: ‘If you’re heading eastbound towards the end of the precinct, the first thing cyclists will see is the restriction notice.

‘It’s only if they turn 90 degrees that they might notice the blue circle sign in Harper Way.

‘We could do something to make this more obvious.’

Cllr Forrest suggested a new sign on a pole which is currently bare at the entrance to the precinct, pointing towards Harper Way.

He added: ‘And along the length of the cycle route, the paintwork could do with a touch-up to make it more obvious to both cyclists and pedestrians that it’s there.’

Tory council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘The clue is in the order of the wording of the order, it is the pedestrian zone traffic regulation order.

‘This is about making it safer for pedestrians, but we are doing what we can for cyclists as well.

‘Certainly a lot of cyclists I have seen there are cycling into the zone, getting off their bikes, doing whatever it is they’ve got to do in the shops, then they get back on their bikes and continue to cycle through the zone.

‘We have this route in place for them to use.’

Cllr Trevor Cartwright, who is in charge of public protection matters said: ‘We have got town management looking at this whole area, including putting in extra cycle racks. This is something that we can look at.’

The order also closes a loophole that had legally allowed vehicles free access to the pedestrian area without fear of fines.

Vehicles are now only be allowed into it for loading between 6am and 9.30am and 4.30pm and 7pm.