Copyright © Southampton Common Forum -
CURRENT ISSUES -
In 2017, Southampton City Council submitted a planning application to widen Lovers’ Walk, the pathway which runs down the eastern side of the Common. The application can be viewed on the Council’s planning portal here, by searching for reference 17/00703/FUL.
By widening Lover’s Walk and improving the surface the stated aim was to make the route more suitable for cyclists and reduce the risk of cyclist/pedestrian conflicts at busy times. More cyclists might use the route in preference to roads so easing the pressure there. Whilst a map was provided there was no illustration or assessment of the impact of the new path on the Common or its appearance.
One of the purposes for which the Forum was established was to enable wider public consideration of proposals that could affect the Common. The Forum has established that there is considerable attachment to the present character of the Common and that the Common’s greatest value is as a place of recreation. The workshops held in 2016 identified user conflicts – and particularly cyclist-
A majority of the Forum Management Committee considered that the Forum should oppose the application. This was on the basis that most users of Lover’s Walk are pedestrians; that widening the path and improving the surface could actually increase the risk of such conflicts by encouraging cyclists to speed up; that the path would still be too narrow to make a serious impact in reducing road traffic; and that widening the path as proposed would alter the character of this part of the Common without any compensating benefits. The best way to prevent conflicts was felt to to have wholly segregated routes. Before the application SCF had advised that serious consideration should be given to two alternatives:
(a) creating dedicated cycle routes on the Avenue with Oakmount Avenue/Westbourne Crescent/Blenheim Avenue as a temporary alternative (this would also have the advantage of slowing traffic on the Avenue)
(b) a scheme being proposed that would create a separate route over land owned by the University between Burgess Road and Highfield Avenue, using the existing 7m-
An alternative view was that the application was fully consistent with the principle established by the Forum that the Common is a place that maximises the benefits for the City as a whole , not least in their health and well-
The Forum asked its members for their views on the application, for, against or neutral and synthesised these into a formal response to Council.
The Forum’s formal response to Council, based on responses to our consultation can be viewed here.
At the end of 2018, the application was still under consideration by Council. In spring 2019, SCF will be attempting to hold a “charette” process to allow all interested parties to come together and design a commonly acceptable resolution to the stalled application.
|SCF 2017 Common User Survey|
|SCF 2017 Common User Survey Results|
|2018 project 1|
|2018 project 2|
|2018 project 3|
|2018 project 4|
|hawthorns urban wildlife centre|
|large events 2018|