Agenda item


To consider any petitions received from the public.


Petition to Pass a Motion of Support for the Development of a Safe Cycling and Walking Pathway Between Arundel and Ford Station


A Petition has been submitted by Arundel Town Council asking this Council to pass a motion of support for the development of a safe cycling and walking pathway between Arundel and Ford Station.


As the Petition contains over 1,500 signatures it requires a debate by Full Council.


The procedure in place in the Council’s Constitution for such debates confirms:


·                The petition organiser will be given 5 minutes (maximum) to present the petition at the meeting.

·                The relevant Committee Chair will be given 5 minutes (maximum) for a right of reply

·                Following the presentation of the Petition, Members are invited to debate the Petition for thirty (30) minutes with each Councillor being allowed to speak for a maximum of 3 minutes.


Attached are relevant documents provided by Arundel Town Council in support of the petition and also a report from the Director of Place for the Council to consider in holding this debate.



            There were no petitions presented to this meeting.


            The Chair confirmed that a petition had been received requesting the Council to pass a motion of support for the development of a safe cycling and walking pathway between Arundel and Ford Station. This had previously been received by the Council, as confirmed by the Leader of the Council, at the last Full Council meeting held on 10 November 2021. Now that this petition had the support of over 1,500 signatures, it needed to be considered and debated by Council.


            The wording of the Petition was shared to the meeting [as set out in the agenda pack at pages 5 and 7] confirming that:


            The Arundel Community, as represented by its Town Council and its two Primary Schools, requests that a safe cycle path and footpath be provided between Arundel and Ford, and asks that Arun District Council responds to the petition by:


(1)  Passing a motion of support for the petition;


(2)  Communicating that support to the Steering Group which is working on the development of the business case to be submitted to National Highways. This steering group has representatives from National Highways, West Sussex County Council, Arundel Town Council and is attended by Kevin Owen Planning Policy Team Leader at Arun District Council.


            In line with the Council’s Petition Scheme, set out in the Council’s Constitution at Part 8 – Codes and Protocols, Section 4 – Petitions Scheme  - Paragraph 5.0 Full Council debates, the Chair firstly invited the Petition Organiser, Mr Batty, to present the petition.


            Mr Batty then presented the petition. He confirmed that 1,500 Arun residents had signed this petition which was asking the Council to support the development of a safe cycling and walking pathway between Arundel and Ford.  Support for this petition had also included The Duke of Norfolk, the District’s Arundel and South Downs Member of Parliament, Andrew Griffith, and civic leaders not just from Arundel but from surrounding Parishes and Towns too.


            The support mentioned above had been reinforced in 2020 by this Council’s own research into Active Travel revealing that people that cycled in their own area had a preference to cycle in and around Arundel creating it into a cycling hub. The reason for this was that the Ford Road was flat and provided excellent access from the southern coastal plain to the South Downs.


            Mr Batty confirmed that his objective this evening was to ensure that Councillors understood the level of public demand; to explain why there was urgency; and to ask the Council to support the Motion and to instruct Officers to proceed urgently.


            A very short presentation was then shared to the meeting showing a map illustrating Arundel as the geographic centre with the Downs to the North and the coastal plain to the south. The railway, the A27 and the National Cycle Route 2 running east to west along the coastal plain were highlighted showing the need for this cycle route which would cut across creating a safe link between these locations.


            Mr Batty outlined that this petition was about doing the right thing for the District’s residents and the environment. It would:


·         Provide safe access to Ford station for Arundel secondary school children and for workers commuting along the coastal plain

·         Enhance more Cycle Route 2 [recently opened] connecting the three Towns of the District

·         Make it easier for workers to get from Littlehampton to Arundel as there were no direct trains

·         There was an urgent need as 2,000 new homes had been identified for Ford

·         The Local Plan had identified the need for a new secondary school in Yapton

·         The Council had declared a climate emergency and transport was now the biggest polluter

·         Making Ford Station more accessible would encourage more to use public transport and to abandon cars for journeys less than 2 miles – these were important behavioural changes that needed to be made to achieve the Government’s target of net zero by 2050.


            Mr Batty outlined the timely nature of the petition.  Shared funding would be the most likely way to achieve the delivery of the route.  The A27 had brought National Highways to the table providing a unique opportunity; West Sussex County Council was on board; Central Government was investing; this Council’s own draft Infrastructure Business Plan identified this as a top five priority.  Ford Road was a very dangerous road; this pathway would be used for generations to come; residents wanted it; the evidence of support was clear from many other sources, but a political shove was required to get this pathway across the line. The Ford Road report had highlighted the key points and what needed to happen next. The Council’s support would reassure residents that good progress was being made.  Mr Batty therefore urged Councillors to support his petition and the recommendation in the accompanying Officer’s report.


            Having thanked Mr Batty for his informative presentation, the Chair then invited the Chair of the Planning Policy Committee, Councillor Bower, to make a response to the petition. He thanked Mr Batty for the petition and confirmed that he had good news to share.  Councillor Bower outlined that at a meeting of the Council’s Planning Policy Committee held yesterday evening, Councillors had considered this item under the CIL Infrastructure Project Plan, and this particular project had received the green light to proceed.  Although much of the funding had been identified, the project had not yet been programmed in terms of delivery; it had to be delivered by WSCC and this Council was now awaiting a response from WSCC in terms of it plans to progress this forward. Councillor Bower provided assurance that every Member of the Committee had voted in favour of this project which would come to fruition in the foreseeable future.


             In inviting debate from Councillors, the first to speak was the Leader of the Council, Councillor Gunner. He thanked Mr Batty for the petition referring to the special presentation event that he had attended when he had formally received the petition in October 2021. The children who had presented the petition had talked very passionately about how dangerous Ford Road was to use as a cyclist and a pedestrian and how they wished to cycle more using this route. They were keen to hear how the Council could work to deliver this much needed route for them. To illustrate how this Council planned to work in assisting the delivery of this route, Councillor Gunner confirmed that the decision taken by the Planning Policy Committee secured commitment and support.  There was also wide ranging support from many other Councils and signatories who would all engage positively to ensure the delivery of the route.


            The Chair then invited Councillor Bower to propose the recommendation set out in the Officer’s accompanying report.  Councillor Bower formally proposed “that the Council supports the ambition of the local community to secure a safe cycle path and footpath between Arundel and Ford”.  Councillor Gunner then seconded this proposal.


            The Chair then invited questions on the petition.  The Council congratulated Mr Batty on the petition and for the thorough research that accompanied it. A question was asked over the implications this proposal might have on the proposal of the cycle path up the riverbank as there was a separate proposal for this. The fear was that there could be two cycle paths from Arundel to Ford and nothing for along Ford Lane. The Director Place was invited to respond.  He outlined that the two proposals were potentially mutually supportive; they had different functions with the one being considered now being principally about supporting commuters whereas the one along the river was related to a leisure route. It was anticipated that this route would come forward first as the other route was more complex with no funding resolved for it. The Director of Place felt that there was no issue of concern.


            Another question asked sought confirmation as to whether this Council was signed up to the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan known as LCWIP.  The Director of Place confirmed that this Council had commissioned a separate report called The Active Travel Report [as referred to by the petitioner] which had already been considered by the Planning Policy Committee Plan and had been supported.  As Councillor Bower had highlighted earlier, funding has already been identified via the CIL process and was now a matter for WSCC and National Highways to see if they wished to support additional funds. Although this Council had taken a slightly different route, it was not anticipated that this would be a restriction to securing funding from other sources.


            A final question was asked which focused upon the need to look at extending this proposed route from Ford Station down to Climping, providing  a complete safe route from Arundel down to Climping. The Director of Place confirmed that this was one of the routes set out in the Active Travel Report referred to earlier.


            The Chair then invited debate on the petition. This saw many Councillors speaking in support of it and recognising how important this was to the residents of Arundel. This proposal fitted completely with all the Council’s objectives and praise was extended to Mr Batty for his work in starting the petition. This highlighted how the community could work in partnership to achieve objectives and it was identified as an excellent model as to how a community had worked together to achieve results.  Further tributes were extended to Mr Batty and Arundel Town Council for the work in producing the business case that had accompanied the petition. 


            The Council, then




To support the ambition of the local community to secure a safe cycle path and footpath between Arundel and Ford Station. 


Supporting documents: