A City to Share – follow up with Donna Jones

pcf-city-strategy-portrait-hr-thumbOn Tuesday 2nd December Portsmouth Cycle Forum also met with the leader of PCC, Cllr Donna Jones, and the Cabinet Member for Traffic & Transportation Cllr Ken Ellcome to follow up on the launch of our cycle strategy, A City to Share.

In attendance were Cllrs Jones and Ellcome, PCC Head of Traffic & Environment Simon Moon, Assistant Head of Traffic & Environment Marc Griffin, British Cycling Southern Region Recreation Manager Jo Downing, Sameen Farouk (a key contributor to the strategy development) plus Jon Spencer and John Holland of Portsmouth Cycle Forum.

Cllr Jones’s immediate focus was on the development of a major cycling event in the city. It’s too early to announce what that is but it could be very exciting and commit PCC to year-round support for cycling for several years to come. Cllr Jones also committed to engage with the minister for cycling, Robert Goodwill and minister for Portsmouth, Matthew Hancock to find out how Portsmouth can be reconnected to the main stream of cycling funding that it currently seems excluded from.

I was particularly pleased to hear that Simon Moon is planning to redraft the city’s LTP3 policy partly in response to our strategy. LTP3 is really the main body of transport policy for the city and much of the city’s transport funding comes through it. So that is a really, really positive development. He also committed to work in partnership with Portsmouth Cycle Forum in doing that.

Useful discussions were had about how to further raise the profile of the strategy with neighbourhood fora and businesses. We maybe seeking volunteers to help with that soon. There were two key issues we raised in writing following the meeting as we had run out of time:

  1. PCC officers are currently working up an EOI response to the DfT Cycling Delivery Plan. Given the unfortunate failure of the Cycle City Ambition and, more recently, LSFT2 bids it is obviously vital that this EOI meets a positive response. We are very keen to support the development of Portsmouth’s EOI response in any way we can.
  2. Plans to redevelop the city’s coastal defences are now well advanced, with the first section covering a long section of Southsea seafront open for consultation. In the past, whilst campaigning for the western part of the seafront cycle route, we were assured that when the new coastal defences were built that would be the opportunity to improve cycling on the seafront. Unfortunately, any cycle provision is absent from the plans now presented. It seems a shame to spend circa £20 million on this stretch of the seafront and do nothing to solve the long standing problem with cycling here. If we do hold a high-profile event then the seafront is an area I’m sure we’d love to include. It will be a real pity if a once-in-a-generation opportunity to introduce some attractive, safe cycling facilities on the western seafront has been missed.

There is a consultation running right now on the coastal defences if you’d like to have your say – check our article which will lead you to it.

Thanks to the Councillors and officers for their time. We look forward to some speedy progress.