Nottinghamshire is among the local authorities preparing a bid for Mini Holland cash to make streets in some areas as friendly for cyclists and pedestrians as those in the Netherlands, after the county council’s transport and environment committee approved plans for such a scheme in Stapleford.
The Department for Transport wrote to local authorities throughout England in June to invite expressions of interest in bidding for funding for such schemes, and other towns and cities for which plans for Mini Holland areas, similar to those now found in three outer London boroughs, include Crawley, Shrewsbury and Oxford.
Nottinghamshire County Council says that should its expression of interest make the DfT’s shortlist, it will then launch a formal consultation on its proposals including low-traffic neighbourhoods and protected cycle lanes for Stapleford, which lies on the A52 road linking Nottingham with Derby, reports the Nottingham Post.
Councillor Neil Clarke, who chairs the transport and environment committee, said: “This is too good an opportunity to be missed. Given the number of market towns, as well as district, village and local centres in the county, many locations in Nottinghamshire could benefit from a scheme of this kind.
“However, only one area can be chosen, and technical analysis and work undertaken so far has shown that Stapleford meets all the Department for Transport criteria while also having the greatest potential to maximise and add value to other regeneration and infrastructure schemes in its surrounding area.”
The three Mini Holland boroughs in London – Enfield, Kingston-upon-Thames and Waltham Forest – were each awarded around £30 million in March 2014 by then Mayor of London Boris Johnson to translate their visions for promoting active travel and reducing motor traffic into reality.
In 2018, a study by Dr Rachel Aldred of the University of Westminster, published in the academic journal Transportation Research, found that Mini Holland schemes encouraged higher levels of cycling and walking and that local residents had developed a more positive perception of cycling and the local environment.
Councillor Clarke highlighted that introduction of those schemes in the three London boroughs had encouraged more people to walk and cycle.
“Congestion in these areas is not reported to have increased, and this is an incredibly promising sign and one which really highlights the significant benefits of a Mini-Holland scheme,” he continued.
“We want this scheme, if approved, to be driven by those in the community it would benefit, and that is why the specifics of it would be determined through a detailed consultation with those who live, work and use the local shops and facilities in Stapleford as well as local businesses and services who operate there."
News that the government was inviting local authorities in England to put lodge their interest to bid for a share of the funding emerged in June.
In a letter, DfT deputy director Rupert Furness made it clear that schemes would need to include proper segregation in accordance with the LTN 1/20 standard, and that cycle lanes demarcated solely by paint would be rejected.
He told local authorities: “Mini Hollands involve intensive spending on local roads and streetscapes to make them, over time, as cycle and pedestrian-friendly as their Dutch equivalents.”
He continued: “Candidate authorities must be places where there is serious political commitment to dramatic change, not just for cyclists, but for everyone who lives and works there.”
The past 18 months have seen schemes aimed at promoting walking and cycling encounter vocal opposition from a small but vocal minority, one of the objections typically raised being lack of adequate consultation.
But in his letter, Furness cautioned: “Consultation does not mean giving anyone a veto or prioritising the loudest voices.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.