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Residents brand walking and cycling path extension an “unforgivable waste of money” – when “the NHS is in need and families are going hungry”

Another local claimed that, due to the road narrowing during an earlier phase of the project, one driver “has lost three wing mirrors already”

Plans to extend a shared walking and cycling path, which the government says will increase connectivity and provide safer active travel routes for local communities, boosting their health and wellbeing, have been heavily criticised by residents, with one responding to the launch of the project’s consultation process by branding the scheme “a waste of money when the NHS is in need, families are going hungry, and old people can’t heat their homes”.

Last week, the Welsh government and the Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent (NMWTRA) presented their proposals for phase two of the Llandrindod Wells to Howey Active Travel Route, phase one of which was commenced in October 2022, and which will involve widening and improving the surfaces of the existing pavements to create a shared-use walking and cycling path between the spa town and the neighbouring village in Powys.

According to the Welsh government, the active travel scheme – which also includes upgrading footways to provide pedestrian priority across side roads and updated signal-controlled junctions – will help reduce reliance on single-occupancy car use, protect vulnerable road users, benefit the health and wellbeing of local communities in Powys, and reduce emissions.

Llandrindod to Howey Active Travel Route plans (Welsh government)

By linking Llandrindod with its neighbouring communities towards Howey through safer active travel infrastructure – albeit without segregated walking and cycling routes due to restrictions on the road corridor by adjoining properties – Wales’ Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters says the scheme will “encourage more and more people to regularly walk and cycle for journeys instead of using a car, connecting people with where they live and where they need to go”.

> "Far more pleasant for walkers and cyclists": 20mph speed limit analysis hailed "astonishing", with drivers' journeys just 45 seconds longer

The Welsh government also said that the scheme forms part of its plan, required by the Active Travel (Wales) Act, to foster “significant health benefits for individuals” through active travel.

“Walking and cycling for short journeys can also increase levels of physical activity, supporting both physical and mental health,” the government said.

However, despite its claimed health and societal benefits, the scheme has been branded a “shameful and unforgivable waste of money” by some residents, who claim the funding could have been better spent on the NHS.

Commenting on the local council’s social media announcement of the scheme’s month-long public consultation process, which runs until 14 December, Alison Dale wrote: “What a waste of money. When the NHS is in need, and families going hungry, old people can’t heat [their] homes, but let's put a cycle track in – bloody crazy. I think I have ever seen about two people on bikes on the first bit.”

> Council blames Tory Government's slashed active travel budget after only one in three cycling and walking projects receives funding

“They are determined to take our cars off us in the name of a non-existent climate crisis,” added Peter Gilbert.

Meanwhile, Gilbert – who says he enjoys walking and cycling – also criticised the decision to narrow part of the road to allow for the widened shared-use path, which he described as a “a total act of irresponsible stupidity”.

“Widen footpaths/cycle lanes as much as you like IF you use or buy up space in the neighbouring fields,” concurred Rory Johnson.

“But, let's keep it simple: Don’t narrow the existing road! That road is a through road – for people getting through Mid Wales. We have no bypasses, no dual carriageway, no motorways. For most of our journeys it's the only road, and constricting it with bike lanes/wider footpath (which will remain largely empty) will create a problem rather than solve one.”

“Great idea making the pavements wider than the road! I know someone [who has] lost three wing mirrors already,” Andria Davies added.

> Councillor slams active travel consultants who “dream up schemes more at home in large cities than small historic towns”

Another resident, lorry driver Michael Gough, claimed that his company’s lorries have mounted the pavement on certain sections of the new route, and called on Powys County Council to share the results of a safety assessment carried out earlier this year by the Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent.

“I have said on many occasions that there are no issues with cycle paths, but Powys have put this in the wrong place and need to learn from this before any more are built,” he said.

Responding to Gough’s complaint, Lib Dem county councillor Jake Berriman wrote: “I absolutely share your frustration at not being given the stage 3 audit as requested. I accept that puts us in a very poor light, but assure you that I have not seen it, having repeatedly asked officers for it, who have requested permission from the Government to release it.

“It is quite unacceptable the way we are all treated by the Welsh Government.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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23 comments

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 3 months ago
8 likes
Quote:

“Great idea making the pavements wider than the road! I know someone [who has] lost three wing mirrors already,” Andria Davies added.

Police have issued an appeal for information regarding a shadowy linguistic vigilante figure known only as swldxr.

Avatar
eburtthebike | 3 months ago
14 likes

Residents brand walking and cycling path extension an “unforgivable waste of money” – when “the NHS is in need and families are going hungry”

Wait until they hear about how much new roads cost, which also leads to more people needing the NHS.  I wonder if the residents will find themselves able to forgive that.

Avatar
BadgerBeaver | 3 months ago
8 likes

These are the same turkeys that voted for Christmas when they overwelmingly voted for Brexit despite generous EU handouts for infrastucture and regeneration. Of course they don't want pedestrian or cyclist safety: it might save the life of someone they care about.

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HarrogateSpa | 3 months ago
4 likes

Lee Waters is very good. The episode of Streets Ahead he features on is well worth a listen.

(I don't need road.cc trying to wind me up by reporting idiotic comments from numbskulls).

Avatar
brooksby | 3 months ago
4 likes
Quote:

“But, let's keep it simple: Don’t narrow the existing road! That road is a through road – for people getting through Mid Wales. We have no bypasses, no dual carriageway, no motorways. For most of our journeys it's the only road, and constricting it with bike lanes/wider footpath (which will remain largely empty) will create a problem rather than solve one.”

Does he realise that he is now not allowed to ever complain if he encounters a cyclist on that road?

Avatar
sheridan | 3 months ago
23 likes

 "a non-existent climate crisis,” added Peter Gilbert.

told me all I needed to know.

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wtjs replied to sheridan | 3 months ago
10 likes

Meanwhile, Gilbert – who says he enjoys walking and cycling 

Don't they always say that? Agreed - Gilbert and the other 'cycle infrastructure is a waste of money, unlike new roads....etc' are nutters and should be ignored

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Car Delenda Est replied to wtjs | 3 months ago
2 likes
Gilbert wrote:

enjoys walking and cycling

Yes a bit of novelty can be enjoyable.

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hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
27 likes

They don't seem to understand the relationship between active travel and costs to the NHS. Money spent on getting people more active is going to be far more effective than keeping people sat in motor cars and then paying for their treatments.

So, if you want the NHS to be better funded, start walking or cycling.

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IanMK replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
17 likes

Too many people expect the NHS to fix them. They want the magic pill. We really need to change the language to how people can fix themselves. Obviously, this requires tools and better infra is part of that. The question is why isn't this message getting through?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to IanMK | 3 months ago
11 likes
IanMK wrote:

Too many people expect the NHS to fix them. They want the magic pill. We really need to change the language to how people can fix themselves. Obviously, this requires tools and better infra is part of that. The question is why isn't this message getting through?

Is it something to do with the oil/motor industry spending loads of money to influence politicians?

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IanMK replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
6 likes

It's not just the oil companies don't forget Big Pharma. 

I also think it's the nature of modern society, quick fix mentality.

We also have to present these facts in a way that doesn't look like virtue signalling or fat shaming. That's going to be an instant turn off. 

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brooksby replied to IanMK | 3 months ago
6 likes
IanMK wrote:

It's not just the oil companies don't forget Big Pharma. 

And its all going to get so much better now we have Peter Thiel and Palantir involved in running the NHS databases...

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chrisonabike replied to IanMK | 3 months ago
1 like

Perhaps we don't feel sense the importance of maintaining health, because we've less experience of lack of it in general and particularly when we're younger?  Historically in the UK it's also never been better to be unwell (you almost certainly won't starve while you're incapacitated for a start).

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peted76 replied to IanMK | 3 months ago
1 like
IanMK wrote:

Too many people expect the NHS to fix them. They want the magic pill. We really need to change the language to how people can fix themselves. Obviously, this requires tools and better infra is part of that. The question is why isn't this message getting through?

In part it's because this message, while it's clearly known throughout the NHS is filtered down via local CCG's through the local PCN's (which are generally 'very' self serving) and left to individuals to liaise work with/within GP surgeries communicating the very simple message of prescribing physical health to reduce/prevent/negate reliance on drugs and NHS services.

This wouldn't be a massive issue if there was any emphasis on delivering the message like they mean it.. BUT that message is 'actually' left to GP's to deliver to patients..  BUT because GP's have been had how they gather funds changed (radically) over the past few years, with the emphasis put on prioritsing 'chains of surgeries, run by the same people who run the local PCN's, they have no real incentive to change how they do things,or give time to a random individual who's been employed to 'educate' GP's on why they need to prescribe joining a 'local walking group and change their lifestyle to help with diabeties or mental health' .. add in the fact that an awful lot of 'non GP practice owning GP's don't do anything over and above what they absolutley need to do within their contracted hours.. and this is my long winded way of saying the message is mostly watered down to be ineffective and the NHS in my opinion is wholly kneecapped by bureaucracy, greed at all levels and inflexible contracts. 

 

 

Avatar
Simon E replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
11 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

They don't seem to understand the relationship between active travel and costs to the NHS. Money spent on getting people more active is going to be far more effective than keeping people sat in motor cars and then paying for their treatments.

So, if you want the NHS to be better funded, start walking or cycling.

The attached image is from a recent presentation by Prof Scarlett McNally (an NHS surgeon) talking about the many benefits of exercise:

https://twitter.com/CANSEEngland/status/1725787713561870725

But it's not going to happen when the DfT (hounded by Shropshire Council Tories and our corrupt MP) is happy to spend up to £200m on one quarter of a ring road around Shrewsbury. That's £78m more than Active Travel England's ENTIRE BUDGET for 2023-2024!

And the inappropriately named 'relief' road will not even begin to address the problems we face.

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HLaB replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
2 likes

That's exactly what I was thinking.  Even when the gene geenie was cruel to me I was operated on and out of hospital in 3.5days because I was active, and I bet I cost less than a lot of folk who go through the same major surgery and are in there for weeks because of their life style choices.  The majority wouldn't be in there in the first place (cost the NHS) if they were active!

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mctrials23 replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
4 likes

I'm sitting here in Tenerife right now at a very English resort hotel and I would say that 95% of the English here are considerably overweight. I would wager that the majority of them over 45 are on a cornucopia of medications which cost the NHS a fortune to maintain and distribute. Unsurprisingly these people barely move and take the lift instead of a flight or two of stairs despite the lift being slow and tiny. 

The NHS isn't going to go under due to its budget being spent on active travel, its going to go under because the absolute jeb ends that complain about this sort of things are too fat and unhealthy to move more than 6 inches without getting out of breath. Because they have contributed fuck all in taxes throughout their lives compared to the vast sums they cost the NHS every year because they can't put down the fork and move a little.

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chrisonabike replied to mctrials23 | 3 months ago
0 likes
mctrials23 wrote:

The NHS isn't going to go under due to its budget being spent on active travel, its going to go under because the absolute jeb ends that complain about this sort of things are too fat and unhealthy to move more than 6 inches without getting out of breath. Because they have contributed fuck all in taxes throughout their lives compared to the vast sums they cost the NHS every year because they can't put down the fork and move a little.

Possibly - I'd suggest it's just a victim of our overall success in keeping more people alive for longer - with costs particularly increasing from around 50.

https://www.icaew.com/insights/insights-specials/the-future-of-tax-and-p...

Avatar
Tom_77 | 3 months ago
22 likes
Quote:

I know someone [who has] lost three wing mirrors already

Losing one wing mirror is a misfortune, losing three looks like carelessness.

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Steve K replied to Tom_77 | 3 months ago
10 likes

Fortunately, their door mirrors are fine.

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Oldfatgit replied to Tom_77 | 3 months ago
4 likes

There's no mention on how or why they've lost these wing mirrors.
Wonder if trucks driving on the pavements have anything to do with it?

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mctrials23 replied to Tom_77 | 3 months ago
3 likes

The funny thing about some drivers is that they are so thick that they don't realise that all they are advertising is that they are bad drivers. The same ones that think "I couldn't see so I just pulled straight out" is a commentary on their lack of blame for an accident rather than an admission that they are just bad drivers. 

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