BHBPA response to Place & Connectivity Programme public consultation

Below is the Association’s recent response to the public consultation:

Thanks to Nathan Spilsted of MSDC and Paul Jackson-Cole of WSCC for recently presenting the Place & Connectivity Programme to representatives of the Burgess Hill Business Parks Association. The input provided here is based on the views expressed at that meeting, and subsequent to it, by BHBPA members

Overall, we look favourably on the plans to improve transport arrangements in BH, even if the P&C Programme is limited to safer sustainable modes of transport – mainly via the upgrading and linking of important locations including the two railway stations and major places of work like the Victoria and Sheddingdean Business Parks. Such improvements should have a positive impact on the parking issues and congestion that adversely impact the industrial estates today.

As such we recognise that cycling from home to work or from the railway stations to work will be positive for the environment and for peoples’ health.

The Sustainable Transport plans to date lack design detail, and so our support at this stage is in principle because we need to see the detailed designs before being able to say whether the plans are good or not. Therefore, while we are supportive of the plans, we do want to stay engaged as your design work unfolds.

Unfortunately, the P&C programme does not meet our overall transport needs, including some of the most important ones. Our members have raised the following important additional points:

  • While we realise the scope of the project is somewhat limited (to just BH and essentially just cycleways) it is rather frustrating that we are not looking at a joined-up transport plan for the wider area of Burgess Hill and the Industrial Estates.
  • The most important gap, from our members’ point of view and especially the major employers, is the need for a more effective bus service so as to get people around the town, and to & from the Business Parks including the new A2300 Hub from the railway stations. We appreciate the provision of bus services is less of a capital spend issue and more of a revenue spend matter, and as such the P&C Programme is being funded essentially as a capital spend programme. Nonetheless this issue is a very important gap for our members, their employees and visitors. Perhaps, it should be the subject of further specific consultation and hopefully some creative problem solving?
  • To be more specific, the Hub currently has a bus stop but no buses. Further, there are no bus routes currently directly serving the Sheddingdean Estate from either Burgess Hill or Wivelsfield railway stations. New services need to be planned to cover all the business parks – perhaps some sort of shuttle service linking running in the morning and evening peaks would suffice – perhaps part public purse / part business community funded?
  • We are concerned that some of the plans are a long way off into the future, for example parts are scheduled for delivery after 2026. This raises the question whether they will ever come to fruition as the Developers funding some of the work will presumably be long gone by then. How will this risk be managed?
  • Whereas there are some specific plans for the Victoria Business Park, the Sheddingdean Industrial Estate in contrast seems under-provided for in the absence of any specific plans. The upgrading of a footpath between Maple Drive and Marchants Way with artwork and a bench will have little benefit to businesses on the Sheddingdean Industrial Estate and may even encourage drivers visiting the businesses to park in Blackstone Way, which already upsets the local residents. (And please note, the Sustrans Townwide Walking and Cycling Strategy refers throughout to “Merchants Way” when it is of course “Marchants Way”)
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