Report by the Director of Highways, Transport and Planning, Place Services.
The Committee is asked to consider and determine the following application:
Selsey: Proposed Upgrade of part of Public Footpath 76 Golf Links Lane to Bridleway as Part of a Route Linking Selsey with Medmerry.
5.1 The Committee received and noted a report by theDirector of Highways, Transport and Planning, Place Services including amendments to paragraph 6.1 of the Committee report as amended by the Agenda Update Sheet (copy appended to the signed copy of the minutes). The report was introduced by Nicholas Scott, Principal Rights of Way Officer, who gave a presentation on the proposals, details of the informal consultation and key issues in respect of the application, plus the legal provisions for both the making and confirming of an order.
5.2 The Committee noted a written statement in support of the application from Mr Peter Glover, local resident. The proposals would be wholeheartedly supported. The existing use of the lane by all forms of traffic has been understated in the Committee report and not based on consultation with residents or substantive periods of observation. Whatever the current legal restrictions, the lane is used by all manner of motorised vehicles including HGVs, farm traffic, heavy plant and private cars, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The claims of the Country Club that there would be an unsustainable increase in traffic is nonsense because the 300-plus chalets also generate substantial traffic. There are safety concerns due to the lane being narrow and so signage and traffic calming measures were suggested. No-one locally is aware of any owner, although part of the route is maintained by the Country Club. Mr Glover’s comments are endorsed by Mr David Sword, another local resident.
5.3 The Committee noted a written statement in support of the application from Mr Mike Nicholls, Chairman, Project Team, Selsey to Chichester Greenway. The route is a strategic link between Selsey High Street and the RSPB via Ferry Farm and Medmerry. The proposals would allow access to route 88 which stretches over 12.5 miles on the east of the B2145 to Chichester via North Mundham, and to the Greenway cycle route aiming to run over 8.5 miles on the west of the B2145 to Chichester. The proposed route has passed the feasibility study, has passed an ecological impact assessment and has 95% land permissions. It would help combat climate change, link communities, serve residents, commuters, pupils and visitors and link to other parts of the peninsular. It would also enhance use of the canal. The proposal is supported by local councils, businesses, stakeholders, Sustrans and landowners.
5.4 Cllr Donna Johnson, local County Councillor for Selsey spoke on the application. The Manhood Peninsula generates 70% of the tourism in Chichester District. In summer there is a noticeable increase in cyclists. The proposal would support ambitions to make Selsey a destination for ecotourism. Medmerry, one of the UK’s largest managed coastal realignment schemes, is a much visited stretch of coastline. The B2145 is one of the country’s busiest B roads and traffic can exceed optimum usage at certain times. Whilst the redesignation will not solve issues such as the narrow, twisting nature of the road, it would make a valuable contribution to alternative access to Selsey and Medmerry. It is understood that not all owners along part of Golf Links Lane are happy with the proposal; however, the route would contribute to the convenience and enjoyment of the local community and visitors and ensure a safer environment in which to cycle or ride.
5.5 During the debate the Committee raised the points below and a response or clarification was provided by the Principal Rights of Way Officer, where applicable, as follows:
Need for the upgrade of Footpath 76
Points raised – The proposal is a long-term ambition and long overdue. There is still a lot of work to be done in the area to improve access, but this upgrade to Footpath 76 would be an important part of that. It would also help support and improve tourism in Selsey.
Response – None required.
Reason that the proposal should be determined by Committee
Points raised – Since there were no objections, what is the reason why the proposal needs to be determined by Committee?
Response – The proposal was considered appropriate to be determined by Committee due to the fact that part of Golf Links Lane is unregistered, and also because of the previous opposition expressed by Selsey Country Club in 2019.
Replacement of the kissing gate
Points raised – Can it be confirmed that the kissing gate at the western end would be replaced with a new gate suitable for pedestrian, cycle and disability access?
Response – That is correct.
Use of the route
Points raised – It is clear that the proposal would regularise the existing use of the route.
Response – None required.
5.6 The substantive recommendation was proposed by Cllr Montyn and seconded by Cllr Duncton and approved unanimously by the Committee.
5.7 Resolved – That the Director of Law and Assurance be authorised to make, and confirm in the event of no objections, an order under Section 26 Highways Act 1980 to upgrade a length of public footpath 76 along Golf Links Lane to a bridleway.
5.8 The Committee recessed at 2.26pm and reconvened at 2.40 pm.
5.9 During the recess Cllr Oakley and Cllr Quinn left the meeting.