20's Plenty for Hitchin



Local Mum, Sarah Sharp,  set up ChiCycle, a Cycle Campaign Group for Chichester in February of this year.  One of the aims of ChiCycle is to campaign for speed reduction.  One of the main reasons why people do not walk or cycle is that they are afraid of fast moving traffic.  (Please see WSCC's Household Survey which also supports this with a figure of 43% of people replying that the roads are too dangerous for them to consider walking or cycling.)


With this knowledge Sarah approached WSCC's South Chichester County Local Committee Meeting on 29th March 2010 to ask whether Chichester could not follow in Portsmouth's footsteps and adopt slower speeds.  Although Louise Goldsmith replied enthusiastically that she would put her bike on the train and go to Portsmouth and take a look for herself, this initial enthusiasm soon dried up and at the next committee meeting the idea was rejected.  (Unfortunately Sarah was not present at this part of the meeting as she had been doing a Christian Aid Collection and was prevented getting to the meeting on time by the railway barriers - she had been told that 20's Plenty would be discussed at the end of the meeting but actually it was discussed right at the beginning).

However once the Chichester Observer kindly reported the proposal on their front page Google alert efficiently informed Rod King of 20's Plenty of Sarah's interest and a another budding 20's Plenty Campaign Group was born.  

One of her fellow campaigners kindly alerted Sarah in due course of the newly instituted right of residents in West Sussex to petition the council.  We found out that we would need 3,000 signatures in order to bring about a debate at county level.

Thus our petition was born and first launched at the Whyke Residents' Association AGM in May where Sarah spoke briefly to the organisation which she joined back in 1999 when she first moved to Chichester and helped with their Millenium Party and subsequent Summer Parties.  

At ChiCylce's official launch in June there was a stall dedicated to 20's Plenty where more signatures were gathered.  A local Chichester Resident who happens to work for Portsmouth City Council spoke about his experience of 20's Plenty being introduced in Portsmouth at the launch event.  

At the first meeting of the Chichester Cycle Forum in July many local residents called for 20's Plenty.

20's Plenty was also on the agenda of the West Sussex Cycle Forum in August.  The Head of Highways was not very warm towards the scheme and subsequent to the meeting Duncan Kay, a 20's Plenty Campaigner in Worthing wrote of his concerns.  This was brought to the attention of the newly appointed Member in charge of Transport, Councillor Lionel Barnard who we believe called for a briefing into 20's Plenty.

We are still awaiting the outcome of this review.

In September Sarah and some very committed supporters turfed over a car parking space in Northgate Car Park as part of In Town without My Car Day and used the space to gather 300 signatures for 20's Plenty.  This was an incredible achievement from a small group of people who committed their time and energy to engaging with members of the public and asking them how they thought we should share our streets between motor vehicules, pedestrians and cyclists.  An overwhelming majority of people supported the petition and some residents from Portsmouth commented how lucky they had been to have councillors who responded to the ordinary person's desire to live in safer streets.

Sarah also organised a ride for 10-10-10 and asked City, District and County Councillors to sign up to 20's Plenty.

The campaign is being taken out to schools - including Rumboldswhyke, Funtington, the March, Parklands and approaches are being made to Central, Jessie Younghusband.

A public meeting happened on 16th March 2011. We hope the Chichester Society will print a petition form and a small article on 20's Plenty in their next quarterly newsletter.  We also hope that the Chichester Observer will print an article in all its sister papers on 20's Plenty.

On 12th October Worthing Borough Council voted to ask WSCC to implement 20's Plenty borough wide as soon as possible.  Spurred on by this Sarah asked Chichester City Council to consider bringing 20's Plenty to their Community Affairs Committee.