A popular shared footpath and cycleway is under threat by plans to house a new branch of national cobbler chain, Timpson. Tesco has submitted a planning application to install a pod which would reduce the width of a shared path.

The path runs round the back of Tesco and links both The Petersfield School and Petersfield Infant School with the north and west of town.

If it went ahead, the width of the path would be reduced from 8m to 3m, creating a pinch point that would be unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians at peak times, especially since this route is used by young children.

Petersfield Climate Action Network’s (PeCAN) Active Travel group became aware of the planning application and approached The Petersfield School (TPS) to ask how well used the path is. 

Students on shared path

Headteacher Mark Marande said: “I am happy to confirm that the numbers are significantly in excess of 300.  We believe that over 800 students use this pathway daily towards Tesco as their main route to and from school with around 400 in total using the top gate to Cranford Road.”  Mr Marande has formally written to the council to share his concerns, you can view the full letter here.

Students from the Eco Committee at TPS carried out a count at the beginning of the school day, revealing that 772 students entered the school through the gate which is on the shared path.  Volunteers from PeCAN’s Active Travel group carried out two counts at peak times between 7:45am – 8:45am and 3pm – 4pm counting over 821 people in the morning and 842 people in the afternoon.  You can read PeCAN report from the count here.

Gethin Morgan-Owen, Active Travel lead at PeCAN, said: “We are very concerned about the potential impact given that this is one of the town's busiest footpaths in terms of peak footfall.  Creating a pinch point near a busy school gate discourages walking and cycling to school, while reinforcing an unsustainable reliance on private cars. This pod will create blind corners, thus endangering pedestrians, especially the younger children who are less aware of the risk of collisions with cycle users and people coming and going from the door of the pod.”


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Concerns have also been raised about the impact it will have on local businesses.

Owners of The Petersfield Cobbler in Chapel Street set up a petition which has been signed by almost 1,000 people.  Steve White, who runs The Petersfield Cobbler said: “The problem is, this won’t affect just my business, it will affect three or four other local businesses too like the phone repair shop, dry cleaners and the photo shop. Timpson won’t bring anything to Petersfield that we don’t already have here as independent shops on the High Street.”

If you would like to share your views to the proposed planning application, here are some ideas:

  • Write to your local EHDC Councillor to alert them to the planning application and share your comments with them. Find out who your local EHDC councillor is here.
  • Submit a comment directly on the planning portal here – the full reference of the planning proposal is SDNP/22/05541/FUL
  • Request a 3-min speaking slot at the next EHDC Planning Committee meeting on 20th July, details are here.

If you are interested in learning more about PeCAN’s Active Travel group and perhaps volunteering to take part in future counts or surveys, visit our volunteering page here.