Formal complaint lodged: cyclists allowed on Great Yarmouth and Gorleston seafronts
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013
A formal complaint is being lodged against Great Yarmouth Borough Council after it lifted a bylaw banning bikes from parts of Gorleston and Yarmouth seafront - but council leaders have assured people it is a trial only.
The Norfolk branch of Living Streets, a group which 'stands up for pedestrians', says it is going to register a formal complaint with the Local Goverment Ombudsman, accusing the borough council of failing in its duty to consult the pedestrian groups before agreeing to allow cycling on Gorleston's lower promenade and Yarmouth's north esplanade.
The council's cabinet agreed to temporarily lift bike ban bylaw on both seafronts as a trial earlier this month, allowing cyclists to ride along the seafronts from May to September. Bikes have always been allowed to use the esplanades out of season and, in Gorleston in particular, the bylaw was rarely enforced during summer.
The borough council said the idea bikes do not mix with pedestrians, dog walkers and children was a 'misperception'.
However, John Peacock, chairman of the Norfolk Living Streets group, said collisions between bikes and people do occur but are rarely recorded.
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He said: 'Great Yarmouth Borough Council has refused to consult, invite or listen to those with opposing or differing views on this scheme.
'This is not the way a local authority should be conducting itself especially in an area with high numbers of elderly, retired and young families with children.
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'Taking a stroll along the prom is now going to take on a whole new meaning for the people of Gorleston and Great Yarmouth.'
Highlighting it was a trial only, Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the borough council, said: 'The bylaws are lifted for six months.
'People have been cycling on these proms for years and there's no history of incidents but, of course, the trials will be monitored and evaluated by the area committees at the end of the trial, and Living Streets will be invited to come to those meetings.'
Mr Wainwright added the town's civil enforcement officer will 'keep an eye' on the cycling but it would not be 'policed'.
Jane Beck, director of customer services at the borough council, said they had information from the Cyclists' Touring Club and spoke to Sustrans before deciding the temporarily lift the bylaws.
Neil Turner, founding member of Great Yarmouth Cycling Club and Activating CIC - the group behind plans for a cycling hub on Yarmouth's North Drive, encouraged cyclists and pedestrians to share the space and, in the event of a collision, report it to the council.