On 9 May 2020, the Secretary of State for Transport announced a £250m Emergency Active Travel Fund for local authorities to restart local transport as part of the Government’s Covid-19 recovery roadmap.
The two key aims of the funding are to:-
- enable more walking and cycling for everyday journeys, alongside
- supporting safe social distancing.
The types of measures that they require local authorities to consider delivering include; road closures, widened footways, pop up cycle lanes, temporary cycle parking and social distancing signage.
An application by ESCC was submitted to the Department for Transport on 5th June 2020, to seek approval. Their proposal for Lewes concerns Lewes High Street/School Hill: Footway widening to enable people to social distance and walk along this busy route within the town centre to access key local services.
The Friends of Lewes has submitted the following statement to the ESCC:
“Friends of Lewes has as one of its central goals to work with others to promote and protect the vitality of businesses in and around our High Street, preserve its range of buildings and businesses, and safeguard its community value in the face of commercial change and problematic traffic management.
In these unusual and difficult times we recognise the need to make changes to encourage people to feel safe moving around the town, be they pedestrians or cyclists, whilst at the same time supporting local business and helping those who cannot for a variety of reasons walk or cycle to local destinations.
To maintain the attractiveness of the town, at this difficult time, it is hoped that the Highway Authority will look to reduce as much unnecessary through-traffic from the town centre as possible, not only improving the environmental quality, but also maximising road safety and containing pollution levels.
We recognise the immense challenges which are an integral part of achieving all of these aims. We hope there will be a wide ranging, informed debate both over temporary and more permanent changes to the built environment of Lewes. We look forward to taking an active part in that debate.”
Friends of Lewes, July 2020