The proposed new cafe development at Beach Green in Shoreham-by-Sea has been generating increasing amounts of interest. The prospect of an attractive destination for eating, drinking, relaxing, walking and cycling is appealing – yet some local residents are concerned about the potential impact of the Boxpark development.
We went along to the display of plans – hosted by architects Chalk – to discover more about what’s planned.
It’s looking good…
On the whole, we like the proposal for this new development. Shoreham Beach is one of the town’s greatest assets, and if more people are encouraged to spend time enjoying it, this is good news. A cafe, watersports facility and other features will provide a great way to enjoy our beach – perhaps in the same way that Perch has become such a hit in Lancing.
A generous quantity of bike racks show an understanding that many people will arrive by bike.
However, we do have some significant reservations and concerns:
How will the cafe relate to the cycle and walking path?
The developers’ plans appear to relate purely to the boundary of the building itself.
National Cycle Network Route 2 runs along the edge of the development, between the cafe and the sea. As a very popular ‘shared use’ path, there is already an unfortunate tension between people using bikes and people on foot. With many more people coming to visit the area, and moving between the cafe, the path and the beach, we are concerned about the safety and comfort of everyone using the path.
We’ll be asking Adur District Council, West Sussex County Council and Sustrans to consider how best this area can be designed with safety in mind. Should this path be segregated between people on foot and on bike? Could NCN2 be routed in a way that passes to the north of the new building, lessening the risk of conflict? It won’t be enough just to ‘ask people to slow down’: NCN2 is a key commuter and tourism route that needs improvement, and we shouldn’t downgrade its important functionality.
How well will the café connect with the rest of Shoreham?
Many local residents are already deeply concerned about the poor standard of driving and parking on Shoreham Beach. The new development risks attracting excessive amounts of cars to the beach. So it needs to be connected to Shoreham in a way that makes people feel able to walk or cycle to the location if they choose. A lovely spot for walking and cycling by the coast loses much of its value if people feel they must use a car to reach it.
The current route of NCN2 between the Adur Ferry Bridge and Beach Green really isn’t great: there’s a confusing layout at the southern end of the bridge; a zebra crossing neglects the needs of people riding bikes; Ferry Road is dominated by parked cars and Beach Road isn’t up to scratch as a major bike route. This all needs to change.
So while we’re supportive of anything that will enable more people to enjoy our coastline, we’ll be seeking reassurances that the relationship between this development and Shoreham’s cycling infrastructure is seriously considered and planned for.