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Online Discussion Feedback Results

Friday Street Modifications

The Discussion

The discussion on the Friday Street Modifications ran from the 14th of July to the 31st of August 2014 and, while now closed, is still available to view online – where the highest rated and most commented upon ideas are easily filtered and viewed.

The online discussion invited feedback on planned modifications at the threshold of the bridleway entering Rendlesham Forest from Friday Street. These aimed to:

  • Up hold the bridleway designation to restrict undesignated and unauthorized bridleway access to improve safety for designated bridleway users accessing the forest.
  • The modifications would also allow informal parking for a limited number of cars before the start of the bridleway. A map outlining where the modifications would take place was provided here.

The Rendlesham webpage received 446 unique views during the time period the discussion ran

23 ideas were posted on the online discussion page and 27 comments were made on the ideas.

We received 1 written letter, which suggested making the informal parking space bigger.  An email was also received representing residents from Friday Street and their concerns.  A copy of the letter and email (with personal information removed) are available on request.

Discussion promotion

The discussion was widely promoted via the following channels

1. This poster was sited around Friday Street and Rendlesham while the discussion was live.

2. We directly contacted the following groups, notifying them of the discussion when it commenced and providing a discussion link.

  • Residents of Friday Street
  • Save Friday Street Car Park representatives
  • Local forest user groups
  • The local Member of Parliament
  • Rendlesham Parish Council
  • Local Authority Rights of Way Officer
  • Local police

3. The online discussion was promoted on the Rendlesham Forest webpage and a link provided.

Graphical Overview

For illustrative purposes only we’ve produced a graphical overview of the discussion to provide a simple breakdown of the ideas discussed and the interests of the people involved.

Main points from the discussion

1. Reduce Traffic or reduce traffic speed

29% of participants in the discussion commented that the flow or speed of traffic should be reduced along Friday Street. 

The Forestry Commission (FC) are unable to make decisions on or changes to the use of the road as this is the responsibility of the Highways Authority.  However, all the feedback from the online discussion will be passed on to the appropriate department and the Forestry Commission will be happy to work in partnership with them to resolve issues.

2. Leave parking on the bridleway as it is

23% of participants in the discussion said that the current parking on the bridleway should be left as it is. 

Unfortunately the FC are not in a position to allow parking on the bridleway as clarified in the information provided at the start of the online discussion and outlined below.

  • Whilst the FC have tolerated unofficial parking at Friday Street in the past it is evident that use has grown to levels which are now negatively impacting on the Bridleway designation, the forest and the Friday Street public highway.
  • Friday Street is very narrow with a number of blind bends and no official passing places.  The FC believes that an application for Planning Permission for a car park at this location would be refused by the Planning Authorities on the grounds of unsuitable access.
  •  The Forest is very important to wildlife and is designated a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and SPA (Special Protection Area).  The site requires a level of protection and management and any new facility would require an appropriate assessment to ensure the special interest is not affected.
  •  Attempts to encourage parking elsewhere without enforcement have not proved successful.
  • The FC’s position over access and parking on the bridleway needs to be made clear to allow the authorities to uphold the Bridleway designation and encourage people on foot, bicycle and horseback to use the forest free from unauthorised vehicular traffic.

3. Use other parking places

16% of participants in the discussion suggested using other informal parking off the forest fire route entrances or car parks at Rendlesham or Butley Corner. 

While limited informal parking will still be available before the threshold of the bridleway, these suggestions promote a flexible and considerate approach to try and reduce traffic pressure on Friday Street.

4. No parking allowed at all

16% of participants in the discussion felt there should be no parking allowed at all, which included the informal parking area planned as part of the modifications. 

Informal parking areas are normal practice around the Public Forest Estate and are usually found near entrances to the forest. 

5. Protect the bridleway

10% of participants in the discussion felt that something needed to be done to protect the bridleway for horse riders, cyclists and walkers to be able to use it safely.

6. Yes to proposed modifications

6% of participants said yes to the proposed modifications or yes with some minor changes.

7. Other points made

Disabled parking

Some participants in the discussion were disappointed that they would no longer be able to park on the bridleway as they brought people with special needs or disabilities to the site and felt parking should be provided.  The reasons for not permitting parking on the bridleway are outlined in point 2.  Informal parking will still allow parking near the threshold of the bridleway and near by parking at Rendlesham, Butley Corner and alternative fire route entrances provide alternative options to access the forest.

Our conclusions and proposed next steps

The main aim of the discussion was to gather feedback on the proposed modifications to the forest entrance at Friday Street.  While the online discussion allowed participants to express their preferences it didn’t result in a clear steer with regard to a solution for all. 

The FC cannot allow parking to continue on the bridleway at Friday Street for the reasons outlined in point 2.  However, participants in the discussion have strongly indicated that:

  1. They would like to continue to access the forest and park near by
  2. They would like the flow and speed of traffic along Friday street to reduce

In consideration of this, allowing limited informal parking by leaving an open area near the entrance of the bridleway appears to be a fair compromise.  This is common practice at forest entrances and allows a low level of informal parking and, combined with upholding the bridleway designation, may help discourage increasing use and impacts on the bridleway, forest and residents.

Next Steps

  • The FC will look at the potential to increase the informal parking space near the bridleway threshold slightly.
  • The FC will share the feedback and conclusion from the discussion with the Highways Authority, Police and local Rights of Way Officer.
  • It is expected that work to create the space near the threshold of the bridleway will begin in November.

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.