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Lovers Walk Consultation

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  • Where: The Avenue and Lovers Walk
  • What: Proposed improvements to The Avenue
  • Why: To complete a safer, dedicated pedestrian and cycle route for the city's north-south corridor and to widen the existing route along Lovers Walk to cater for current use.

Latest News

March 2022

Planning application for the proposed works along Lovers Walk have now been granted planning permission subject to several conditions. We will now be working through the conditions and producing a s38 application to seek permission to undertake this work on Common Land.

October 2021

Works Complete. We have now completed work on the next phase of SCN5 The Avenue corridor. Find more information on phase 4 of the Avenue work.

June 2021 - Work starting

Thank you to all those who took the time to participated in the consultation last year. The elements we are taking forward at this stage are the pedestrian access upgrades, including improvements to crossings and a new Toucan Crossing on The Avenue to give better access to the Common. These changes will improve accessibility and support people with their travel choices, encouraging active and safe travel where possible.

These improvements are planned to start from Monday 21 June for approximately 10 weeks and will be delivered over four phases. Full details of the programme and phasing of works are detailed can be found on a separate page.

April 2021 - Secretary of State decision

In November 2020, we applied to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for consent under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 to carry out restricted works on Southampton Common for the creation of a new section of cycle corridor between Northlands Road and Highfield Avenue. 

We were advised on 20 April 2021 that consent is granted for the works set out in our application and accompanying plans, subject to the following conditions being met:

  • The works are to begin no later than three years from the date of this decision;
  • All temporary fencing is to be removed and the Common is to be restored within one month of the works completing.

A copy of the S38 determination document can be found here. For the purposes of identification only, this document shows the location of the works in red. 

We will now review the consent granted and determine an appropriate scheme based on the feedback received.

November 2020 - Survey outcomes

Thank you to everyone who responded to our consultation earlier this year regarding proposals for The Avenue cycle corridor and Lovers Walk. We received a total of 286 responses, with the level of support for our proposed measures outlined below:

  • Strongly Agree = 50%
  • Agree = 14%
  • Neither agree or disagree = 10%
  • Disagree = 11%
  • Strongly Disagree = 15%

Since March we have been reviewing all of the requests received during consultation and, along with further investigations along the corridor, we've been using these to identify what is deliverable.

During this time, Covid-19 has prompted an unforeseen and significant shift in people's daily lives with a subsequent impact on traffic volumes across the city. In response to the pandemic, we have installed temporary cycle lanes along The Avenue (between Winchester Road and Winn Road) as part of our Green Transport Recovery Plan. These have allowed us to make further observations which have also been taken into consideration for the design of the next phase along the corridor.

Based on the information gathered and all of the feedback received, we're now pleased to confirm that we're in the later stages of finalising the scheme design and will share details of this in due course.

What have we done with your feedback?

A breakdown of the most common lines of feedback received and how these have been considered as part of the scheme design can be found on our FAQ page.

Further consultation

We have undertaken Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for elements of work over the summer period that have received overall support. The results of these will be shared in due course.

Further measures on the scheme that were not proposed in the consultation would need to be advertised via a TRO process and will provide an opportunity to give further feedback before designs are finalised.

Where required we have undertaken Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for elements of work which provide an opportunity to give further feedback before designs are finalised of specific measures. These include measures such as controlled crossing, continuous footways, new shared use footway.

Where proposed work is on Common Land we are required to apply to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for consent under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006. This process allows for further consultation on those specific measures. The Planning Inspectorate will decide the application on behalf of the Secretary of State. This applies to proposals to widen Lovers Walk and an application is currently being prepared.

The Avenue Cycle Corridor and Lovers Walk Consultation

In February and March 2020 we sought your views on proposals to extend the City’s north-south cycling corridor along The Avenue from Northlands Road to Burgess Road shown in black on the illustration below.

SCN5 Corridor

Delivery of cycling facilities along parts of this corridor are already well underway with the completion of the sections between Dorset Street / London Road and Northlands Road.

This final section of the Southampton Cycle Network route 5 (SCN5) will finally provide a connection from the city centre to the north most edge of the city at Chilworth Roundabout and beyond via Hampshire’s cycle network which they in the process of improving.

In addition, as part of the wider network, we also sought feedback regarding the planning application for proposals to widen Lovers Walk footpath which is an important walking and cycling route with close links with SCN5 proposals.

We have considered views submitted during the consultation period and will shortly be unveiling the final proposed scheme. Below are the details of the proposals consulted on over Spring 2020.

The Avenue Cycle Corridor (SCN5)

In 2017 Southampton launched its ambitious strategy to develop and grow cycling in the city. Within the strategy, the Southampton Cycle Network (SCN) a statement of ambition for a safe, integrated cycle network that is accessible to everyone. It recognises that people will choose different routes for different purposes, and so the network comprises of a hierarchy of strategic corridors, local routes and leisure cycleways.

Southampton’s Cycle Network consists of 14 radial and cross-city routes that link key cycle trip origins and destinations, either following the main arterial transport roads or more cycle-friendly routes through quieter or traffic free areas.

Within this network of connecting routes, SCN5 has been identified as a cycle freeway, this is the highest level of cycle category and as such, proposes the highest infrastructure provision feasible. A freeway is defined as being a high quality, safe and easy to use direct cycle route radiating out from the city centre along the main transport routes connecting to neighbouring towns and villages; connecting to the main places of employment, education, health, leisure, transport, new development, and onwards into the neighbouring towns and villages.

These proposals will have a number of important benefits:

  • Improving the experience for all users of the Common;
  • Facilitating an increase of active and green travel to major clusters of employment in the City, helping to improve air quality and supporting healthier life styles;
  • Extension of the northern radial corridor (SCN5) to connect with the Hampshire cycle network at Chilworth roundabout;
  • A reduction in conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists, especially on Lovers Walk.

Southampton City Council Cycle Strategy Corridor Plan(Click on image to open)

The Avenue Proposal Lovers Walk Proposal  

Lovers Walk

Lovers Walk is a footpath across common land that links the Avenue to Burgess Road and runs adjacent to the University of Southampton’s Highfield and Avenue campuses. As such, it is a very heavily used footpath for both leisure and commuting. During peak use, the existing width of the footpath does not cope with demand and users step / ride onto the verges to pass each other. As well as user conflict, the current width results in exposed footpath edges, which are a safety hazard to users and maintenance issues.

A planning application for the widening of Lovers Walk was submitted by Southampton City Council in 2015 and paused to review objections received. During this time the council has worked with Southampton Common Forum to collate more user data on travel through and via Southampton Common.

Southampton Common Forum undertook extensive user consultation between 2017 and 2019. This included conducting an online survey of Common users (2,190 respondents from across the whole City in 2017); of users travelling across the Common (621 respondents in 2018); interviews with users on Lovers Walk (early 2019) and, in partnership with the council, a census of pedestrians and cyclists across the Common (early 2019 involving about 15,000 observations over seven days).

This research revealed that:

  • Green commuting (by foot or cycle) is the second-largest activity on the Common after walking for pleasure;
  • There are three main destinations: City Centre, University campuses adjacent to the Common, hospital complex on Coxford and Tremona Roads;
  • 90% of green travellers commute a distance of up to 5.5 km;
  • Lovers Walk is, by far, the most congested path attracting staff and students at peak times, especially during term times;
  • The density of the traffic peaks at over 120 persons per hour per metre,
    Concerns over the width of the pathway in sections of Lovers Walk south of the steps at the south-west corner of the Highfield Campus.
  • The top issues identified by users were safety-related; in particular the narrowness of parts of Lovers Walk. This leads to conflicts between users and has resulted in pedestrians and cyclists straying onto the path verges by up to a metre in places.
  • The lack of lighting during darkness, especially on the section south of Highfield Road.
  • Users supported a separated cycleway on The Avenue as it would be a faster route and would improve safety (reducing conflicts with pedestrians and dog walkers and it has better lighting)

The survey also showed that such a cycleway would reduce cycle traffic density on the Common (especially on Coronation Avenue and Lovers Walk) by diverting it onto The Avenue cycleway.

Southampton Common Forum user survey 2019 (357 respondents)

The various reports of this large body of evidence and work are available online

This extensive evidence supports the 2015 planning application proposal within the context of the strategic approach to green travel across the Common described in this consultation. Following this review the planning application for Lovers Walk is to be resubmitted on the 24th of February 2020.  (Click for SCN5 planning application)

Public events

We held public drop-in events in early March 2020 at three locations at either end of The Avenue and partway along The Avenue and several hundred people attended and gave feedback.  


Frequently Asked Questions