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‘Dangerous’ roads prevent New Milton councillors backing London Tube-style cycling network plan

NEW Milton’s roads are currently too dangerous to be part of a London Tube-style cycling network linking New Forest towns, councillors have ruled.

Led by New Forest Transition, the Tube-map style plan was presented to members at a recent town council amenities committee meeting to identify cycling and walking improvements.

The scheme aims to create a cycling charter and a coast-to-Forest link.

Proposed cycling routes for the New Forest drawn in the style of a London Tube map
Proposed cycling routes for the New Forest drawn in the style of a London Tube map

Although backing the idea of encouraging more commuter cyclists and pedestrians, councillors felt the town’s pothole-riddled roads were unsuitable.

Mayor Cllr David Hawkins said: “I don’t want to pour water on the programme, but to me it’s like suicide taking a bike out on the roads here.

“The state of the roads, with the potholes, is very dangerous to cyclists. I can see more people losing their lives or getting seriously injured.”

Incorporating the B3058 Milford Road in a coastal route linking New Milton to Milford was cited as a particular concern by Cllr Hawkins and other members.

They highlighted the road’s winding nature, as well as stretches where the speed limit is 50mph and 60mph.

New Milton mayor Cllr David Hawkins
New Milton mayor Cllr David Hawkins

Responding, Simon Quincey, of sustainability group Transition Lymington, sympathised with these concerns.

“We think a better route would be to go past the campsite at Downton Cross, through Stopples Lane and then go through to New Milton via Ashley Lane – use the quieter routes,” he said.

“The only way it could work on the B3058 is if the whole stretch was 30mph, but the question is: would Hampshire County Council allow a 30mph limit along that route?

“Safety comes first and at the moment, we wouldn’t advise anyone to cycle along that route. These routes are not cycleable at the moment.”

But Mr Quincey called on councillors to take the scheme seriously as they wanted a New Milton councillor to “champion” it.

Mr Quincey told how the route map had been compiled following consultation with cycling clubs, as well as the public attending local events including Lymington Summer Spectacular and New Milton Bee Fayre.

He stressed the initiative was specifically aimed at commuter cyclists rather than leisure cyclists.

Backing the councillors’ concerns, resident Richard Jenner also branded the route from Barton Court Road to Lymington Road “a death trap” for cyclists due to potholes.

Cllr Valya Schooling said: “As much as we want to increase opportunities for people to go out cycling, our roads are absolutely appalling.”

She speculated it would be extremely costly just for Milford Road to be brought up to standard by Hampshire County Council.

Summing up the councillors’ stance, Cllr Hawkins added: “The idea is fantastic, but I can’t back it until I know the safety aspects of what’s being put in place and the money being spent.”

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