“Thank you Brian for all your hard work and effort on behalf of your community. British Cycling fully support your proposals and were this solar farm to be granted planning permission and go ahead without the enhancements to public access that you propose it would be a huge missed opportunity and almost impossible to retrofit a solution. Developments of this scale should be forced to think much harder about the benefits to the local community and access that can be enjoyed by a whole family is crucial. Shared routes that are appropriate for cycling provide equitable access that means more people benefit. This is especially important if the local community are hostile to the development and permission for it goes ahead despite their concerns. I hope that the decision makers locally and in national government will give due thought to Brian’s proposal and ensure that if this development goes ahead, generations to come benefit not just from clean energy but also from improved access to a beautiful coastal area.” In addition, Luke Anderson – Cycling Delivery Manager, South East, has been working with colleagues in other organisations who have pledged their support for the project: “I met with some partnership colleagues from KCC today, and those from the Highways and Active Travel teams were well aware of your work and fully support the project. I’m due to meet with Swale council in the next fortnight, so I’ll make sure it’s on the agenda there too.”
Kent Active Travel
This scheme rightly picks out the massive opportunity to open a new coastal active travel route alongside this flagship infrastructure development. We are a consortium of volunteer active travel groups engaged in working with councils, landowners and infrastructure projects with the aim of enabling more people to walk and cycle. We understand that active travel is good for the individual’s health in mind and body as well as the wider environment as it reduces traffic and the resulting congestion and pollution. As such we fully endorse and support this initiative and believe that in this particular location it brings the additional benefits of connecting two important locations - Faversham and Whitstable while opening an important section of the coastline. When the time comes, we will be happy to draw in our active travel expertise to support the design reviews to ensure the implemented solution works and is safe for all users.
San Fairy Ann Cycling Club, Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chair
SFACC are very appreciative of the work of Brian and all involved in the Faversham Community Corridor proposals. As a long-established Kent cycling club with over 450 members celebrating their centenary in 2022, we see this a huge opportunity to enhance the current provision for cycling and active travel on the north Kent coast providing accessibility for all. The thorough appraisal of the existing provision and opportunities the project could delivery including the upgrading of National Cycle Route 1 is excellent. SFACC wholeheartedly endorse the proposal and would welcome contributing their further support as required.
Wheels for Wellbeing, Heidi Russenberger, Campaigns & Policy Officer
Wheels for Wellbeing supports the proposed Solar Cycle Way between Faversham, Seasalter, and Whitstable. Safe and accessible cycling infrastructure is vital to enabling more Disabled people to experience the joy of cycling. Access to cycling has numerous physical and mental health benefits, which can be particularly valuable for Disabled people. Cycling has been linked to reduced risk of a range of illnesses including cardiovascular disease, and Type II diabetes. Physical exercise improves cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, disease risk factors, and mental health and wellbeing. Social activities, such as cycling with friends or family, and spending time in ‘green’ and ‘blue’ spaces has been shown to reduce loneliness, stress, and depression, and to support mental wellbeing. Disabled people are 50% less likely to achieve the 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week recommended by the Chief Medical Officer. They are more likely to experience loneliness, and frequently suffer from physical and mental comorbidities as a result of lack of access to exercise. As a non-weight bearing, cardiovascular exercise which can create opportunities for sociability, cycling is particularly suited to Disabled people. The proposed route around the Solar Cycle Way is likely to meet many of the needs of Disabled cyclists, particularly those who are less confident or experienced. It is flat, separate from traffic, and runs through a green and blue space, making it suitable for leisure trips for cyclists of all abilities as well as for travelling safely between Faversham, Seasalter, and Whitstable.
Rich Lehmann, Councillor, KCC Swale East
Rich is very supportive of the opportunity to improve and enhance cycling and walking where we can, including this initiative. He has been campaigning hard to get the relevant people within KCC to get involved with the project, including the rights of way officer. We organised a site visit with him and other relevant parties to discuss further.
Mike Hill OBE, Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, KCC
“The broad aim of your proposal very much reflects the County Council’s policies to make greater provision for off road cycling and riding as set out in the Rights of Way Improvement Plan and Active Travel Strategy”. Mike also confirmed that the KCC may be in a position, given the public benefit, to take on some of the obligations relating to ongoing maintenance/inspection.
Alistair Gould, Boughton and Courtenay Green Party Councillor, Swale Borough Council
Alistair has written to reinforce his support for the cycle improvements should the solar park go ahead: “Thank you for your proposal, I think it is well argued and presented , and am willing to support it, with the obvious reservation that I would not want the solar park to go ahead, but if it does, I agree there should be as much benefit to the local community as possible. It would be even better if we could have those off-road routes over open countryside.”
Simon Pratt, Head of Network Development, England South, SUSTRANS
“I agree that Route 1 between Faversham and Seasalter could be improved and your proposals fit very well with our ambitions to increase the proportion of traffic-free route on the NCN. Sustrans is therefore very happy to support your proposals and I would ask you to keep us posted on developments.”
Matthew Banbury wrote a letter of support on behalf of the SPOKES East Kent Cycling Campaign Committee: “The most interesting aspect of your proposed scheme to SPOKES is it would significantly contribute to connecting Whitstable to Graveney and Faversham via a motor traffic free route. It would be complementary to the Whitstable to Seasalter route proposed by Canterbury City Council District Transport Strategy 2014-31. Although even if that were not to go ahead, the scheme proposed by you would solve what is currently the most dangerous part of the current route that a person on a bike would take between Faversham and Whitstable.
Helen Whately MP for Faversham and Mid Kent
“Thank you for contacting me about the plans for a cycle path around the Cleve Hill solar plant. I apologise for the delay in responding. I remember you raised this with me last year ahead of the development getting approval. At the time, my focus was on trying to stop the development from going ahead and I am now doing everything possible to help mitigate the impact of the development on the local community. I’m grateful to you for updating me on the plans for a new cycle path as part of the development. I’m really pleased to see this is something you are taking forward. I would be happy to take this up with Kent County Council – who have responsibility for public rights of ways – and encourage them to support the project.”
Rosie Duffield MP for Canterbury, Whitstable and Villages
Via her office, Rosie has said: “As you may be aware Rosie has been campaigning strongly for better walking and cycling facilities in Canterbury and Whitstable. This would help tackle the climate emergency as well as promote better public health, improved air quality and reduced traffic congestion. Rosie supports in outline the proposals you make for the cycling and walking network which crosses the boundary between the Faversham and Canterbury and Whitstable constituencies. As nearly all the Cleve Hill site and your home address are both in the Faversham constituency this is, in accordance with Parliamentary convention, a matter in the first place for your local MP Helen Whately. However, Rosie has a proper interest as part of the proposed new network is in her constituency. She would like to note at this early stage that it will be important to link your proposals to improvements to the cycle route from Seasalter to Whitstable. At the moment this route follows the road which carries heavy volumes of traffic. There is a plan for a new cycle route from Seasalter to Whitstable in the Canterbury District Transport Strategy but no date for implementation nor any allocated funds. But this part of the route would become more popular if there is increased cycle use to the west. Rosie wishes you every success with your proposals and would be grateful if you would keep her office informed about future developments, particularly the response from the developers of the solar park.”