Transition Haslemere discusses its campaign for slower speeds and more active travel

7th February, 2023 - 16:06

A mass cycle ride, community suggestions for pedestrian and cycling improvements, creation of a new group, walkabout with a highways engineer, and collaboration with the town council are some of actions Transition Haslemere took on their journey to making the town a better place to live and to visit.

Transition Haslemere is a community group that has taken local initiatives on the climate and biodiversity crises since 2008. From the outset, we wanted to encourage more walking and cycling but we made no headway until we organised a mass cycle ride through the town in 2019. Over 70 people turned up of various ages and backgrounds. We gathered their suggestions for pedestrian and cycling improvements, which we collated on a map. Our gathering made us realise that there were a many other organisations and individuals who shared our concerns about the roads so we set up the Haslemere Active Travel Group.

We set about investigating the feasibility of the various suggestions. We invited an engineer from Surrey Highways to visit some of the sites with us and give us a reality check on the viability of our proposals. Subsequently, we have been able to feed our suggestions and local knowledge into the Waverley Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. We have gathered much evidence about the benefits of more walking and cycling in terms of safety, health, environment and the local economy and presented this to the Town Council, Chamber of Trade & Commerce, Haslemere Society and schools. The schools are particularly supportive and with them we have come up with the idea of 'active travel Fridays' as a focus day for getting pupils, parents, workers and shoppers to ditch their cars and walk or cycle.

We are also trying to build support for a reduction in the speed limit across the town to 20mph. There is still a long way to go get real improvements but there is now a momentum that was not there five years ago. A big part of the success of the group is the cross-organisational collaboration and working with sympathetic councillors.