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Worcestershire again misses out on funding after highways boss said lockdown cycling was “just a phase”

Leaked slide showed council bosses refused to reallocate road or parking space to cycling

Worcestershire County Council has again been left disappointed following the allocation of the second tranche of emergency active travel funding. The authority received only half the money it bid for in the first tranche, with campaigners saying its proposals 'missed the point'. Having apparently failed to learn lessons from this, it will now receive only £649,000 of its second £1m bid.

Writing to council leaders last month, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps threatened to give “considerably less” money in the second wave of funding to councils that proposed substandard schemes.

“We are not prepared to tolerate hastily introduced schemes, which will create sweeping changes to communities, without consultation, and ones where the benefits to cycling and walking do not outweigh the dis-benefits for other road users,” he said.

Worcestershire received £135,500 in the first round of funding, having bid for £271,000.

Councillor Alan Amos, the council’s cabinet member for highways, came in for strong criticism for this from campaigners, with many concerned at his view of the rise in cycling during lockdown as ‘just a phase’.

Danny Brothwell, chairman of Bike Worcester, told Worcester News he was unsurprised that the county had again missed out on funding.

“The government made it very clear what the funding was and wasn’t for,” he said. “The biggest disappointment is that after only getting half the money in the first round the county council didn’t manage to put forward fully acceptable schemes in the second.

“Along with the funding decision, Grant Shapps has issued additional guidance which means the county council should consult more widely with local stakeholders before implementing any schemes.

“Hopefully this time Bike Worcester, our Cycling UK and Sustrans partners, along with other cycling advocacy groups in the county will be consulted. I’m sure the last thing anybody wants are half baked schemes that do little to encourage more to walk and cycle for their shorter journeys.

“Active travel is front and centre in the Local Transport Plan LTP4, but this is further evidence that the leadership at the county council show little signs that they genuinely want to enable, encourage and incentivise active travel, and for us all to make less journeys by car, for the benefit of everyone.”

Amos’s position on cycling is understandably under scrutiny, having also pushed for the 2018 ban on cycling in Worcester city centre.

Speaking at the time, he said that those who rode bikes in the area were “dangerous and selfish” and “wretched people.”

The hours of the ban were recently extended, a move he described as “long overdue.”

A leaked document also stated that county council leaders had refused to give up any road or parking space to cyclists in the second bid.

"The document that was allegedly leaked is not an accurate description of this council’s approach, which is to promote all modes of transport at the detriment of none," said Amos.

Commenting on the £351,000 withheld from Worcestershire in the latest round of funding, he said: “Whilst we are disappointed that we did not get the full amount we bid for as part of the second tranche of the Emergency Active Travel Fund, we still now have nearly £650,000 more to spend on walking and cycling improvements in Worcestershire which is great news.

"We’ll be looking at our proposals and prioritising delivery of the schemes that will make the most long term impact to walking and cycling routes in our county."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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28 comments

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TheBillder | 3 years ago
0 likes

I'm late to this, but if cycling is just a phase, global warming, obesity and congestion (of roads and major blood vessels) will not be.

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David9694 | 3 years ago
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in Salisbury, the news is utterly depressing. Strangled at birth, the People Friendly Scheme for the town centre is a goner. Several articles : I left the adverts in.

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LetsBePartOfThe... | 3 years ago
3 likes

Why should there not be "dis-benefits for other road users" ie motorists 

Can cycle infrastructure only go in where it would not inconvenience motorists. It's entirely only needed in the first place because of the danger caused by ( some of ) those said motorists. 

Also for the environment it is necessary that we reduce motoring ( amongst many other steps ).  So, positive benefits for cycling, and negative benefits for motoring, are actually a good double-incentive to encourage people out of their cars and onto their bikes and feet.  If the motoring experience remained unimpacted, then people would just stay in their vehicles. It needs to be a palaver to drive, so that people consider better alternatives.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
2 likes

I find the allocations somewhat bemusing. This story is about Worcester getting so little and the leader not exactly being supportive.

Well, my council (Cheshire East) got even less £588k and they are very pro cycling, have drawn up plans that met all the governments criteria and are ambitious to achieve modal shift. My wife is the Cycling & Walking Champion on the council and to say she is disappointed would be an under statement.

there a,so seems to be a distinct North/ South divide in the allocations. Have you looked at them? Take Essex for example. £7.4m, Surrey £6.5m, Herts £6.5m, Kent £6.1m, West Sussex £2.4m, East Sussex £2.1m and so it goes on.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/emergency-active-travel-fund-...

PP

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Pilot Pete replied to Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
3 likes

It appears that the Tory run councils received the most money. What a surprise.
In Cheshire East we were allocated £1.54 per person.

In Essex they were allocated £4.91 per person.

PP

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Simon E replied to Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
4 likes
Pilot Pete wrote:

It appears that the Tory run councils received the most money. What a surprise.
In Cheshire East we were allocated £1.54 per person.

In Essex they were allocated £4.91 per person.

PP

And to add insult to injury, Tory councils will likely be more adept at spaffing it up the wall. Shropshire council (Tory-run for decades) has certainly not made much use of their allocation.

It must be galling but I hope your wife dosn't get too disheartened. We really need people like her to keep plugging away, playing the long game for everyone's eventual benefit.

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Awavey replied to Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
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But this is why I say we need the bids councils made to be easily accessible to view to compare. What stands out from Worcestershires bid that was linked to, is they were just looking to resurface a number of existing shared path routes, that's not very transformative imo or delivers much benefit, whilst Essex appear to be dealing in terms of installing several miles of new dedicated cycle lanes taking away road space from cars on many key routes in several towns/cities linking it all with public transport hubs.

Do you really need to look at the allocations there to work out which one got the better funding settlement ?

No council has as far as I know claimed they submitted really positive bids that met the transformative guidelines the DfT set, and ended up with alot less money than they expected.

And to claim it's all some north/south political point scoring is...well show me any real evidence for that,because I cant see it.

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Pilot Pete replied to Awavey | 3 years ago
3 likes

"No council has as far as I know claimed they submitted really positive bids that met the transformative guidelines the DfT set, and ended up with alot less money than they expected."  I can only talk about the one I know, which is my council. And yes, they are disappointed that their radical plans did not get the funding level they were hoping for.

Something else has come to light which is that apparently more funding was made to councils that have good, comprehensive public transport infrastructure, because of the drop off anticipated due to Covid and the rush to personal car use. That would explain some of the disparity, but not all.

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Simon E | 3 years ago
9 likes

I have just read that 2 experienced cyclists were hit by a car while out training near Redditch in Worcestershire yesterday (Saturday). One died shortly after, leaving behind a wife and three children, while the other is in critical condition.

Perhaps it's an opportunity for cllr Amos (and every other obnoxious c**t who thinks they own the roads simply because they are driving a vehicle) to reflect on the harsh reality and the terrible legacy of road deaths.

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brooksby replied to Simon E | 3 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

Perhaps it's an opportunity for cllr Amos (and every other obnoxious c**t who thinks they own the roads simply because they are driving a vehicle) to reflect on the harsh reality and the terrible legacy of road deaths.

I notice that the tabloids this morning are reviving talk of road pricing (someone's suddenly realised that as more people buy electric cars, those tax dodging so-and-sos are not paying VED).  I wonder how that will work out for use of bicycles...

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David9694 replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
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The cheque's in the post (£0). 

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 years ago
2 likes

I've never been called 'wretched' for riding a bike. I've been called a 'c++t" and a 'w+++er' plenty of times. But never 'wretched'. 

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eburtthebike replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 years ago
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Lukas wrote:

I've never been called 'wretched' for riding a bike. I've been called a 'c++t" and a 'w+++er' plenty of times. But never 'wretched'. 

Wretched

adjective:
(of a person) in a very unhappy or unfortunate state

So you could be a wretched c++t and a wretched w+++er.  Something to look forward to when drivers get a bit more educated.
 

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TheBillder replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
0 likes

If someone ever calls you a "wretched w++++r" then likely they've had more practice at it than you.

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AlsoSomniloquism | 3 years ago
2 likes

I'm pretty sure someone posted on that Police twitter feed (where she said it was too dangerous for her staff to cycle), that the Worcestershire council had stated any Active travel plans would not be allowed to take away car lanes or car parking spaces. 

Edit
https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/18647956.worcestershire-county-coun...

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Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
5 likes

He is right. Lock down cycling was just a phase. Post lock down most people who started cycling are too frightened to go out on the roads now. I went out 2 days ago and recorded 7 incidents of what I consider to be intiidating driving. Much worse than before lock down. Not sure why this should be but it is and I know why it won't change. The police aren't interested, the cycling organisations aren't interested. The judges carry on giving ludicrously lenient sentences if drivers are found guilty and juries believe ludicrous excuses so no one is found guilty of dangerous driving.

In my opinion what is needed is a web site where footage can be uploaded and drivers written to if their driving is deemed to be below standard. After a number of warnings prosecutions should follow and sentences should be enough to deter the same behaviour in the future.

Cycling infrastructure is always welcome but at some point every cyclist has to ride on the roads.

Rant over.

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Awavey replied to Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
1 like

the last week has felt alot worse on the roads for definite, not entirely sure as to the cause either given England is in lockdown and people are encouraged to only make essential journeys. But just from two 1hr rides this week, Ive had to review at least 10 seperate incidents, to see if it was worth my time submitting them to the police, all the while knowing chances are even if I did they'd just reject them anyway.

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Jenova20 replied to Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
0 likes
Bungle_52 wrote:

He is right. Lock down cycling was just a phase. Post lock down most people who started cycling are too frightened to go out on the roads now. I went out 2 days ago and recorded 7 incidents of what I consider to be intiidating driving. Much worse than before lock down. Not sure why this should be but it is and I know why it won't change. The police aren't interested, the cycling organisations aren't interested. The judges carry on giving ludicrously lenient sentences if drivers are found guilty and juries believe ludicrous excuses so no one is found guilty of dangerous driving.

In my opinion what is needed is a web site where footage can be uploaded and drivers written to if their driving is deemed to be below standard. After a number of warnings prosecutions should follow and sentences should be enough to deter the same behaviour in the future.

Cycling infrastructure is always welcome but at some point every cyclist has to ride on the roads.

Rant over.

 

I've been cycling to and from work for about 8 years at this point, and things have only just got bad enough for me to buy a camera. Whether it's the constant stream of anti-cycling rhetoric from the media, or the self entitled attitude of motorists reaching boiling point, it's now a terrible time to start cycling. It's far too dangerous, the police enforcement is non-existent, and the punishments for killing a cyclist are pathetic or non-existent in every case.

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Simon E | 3 years ago
7 likes

“dangerous and selfish” and “wretched people.”

In my experience that better describes Tory councillors like Amos and the seemingly incompetents and stooges that control Shropshire council.

We too have councillors in charge who don't approve of cycling, who won't spend the money on walking and cycling or make the real, lasting changes needed to make our streets safer.

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eburtthebike | 3 years ago
5 likes

"....his view of the rise in cycling during lockdown as ‘just a phase’."

Surely he should be getting some sort of award for the most self-fulfilling of all self-fulfilling prophecies?  If you don't invest in cycling now, then you can absolutely guarantee that the covid boom will be just a phase.  This is pretty much the problem we have; all the policies and strategies say cycling is top of the agenda, but the people in charge of implementing those policies and strategies have no intention of actually carrying them out.

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Awavey | 3 years ago
7 likes

its a shame the councils werent forced to publish their plans openly, so we could all see what type of schemes the DfT favoured and those that it didnt.

As it doesnt fill me with confidence even being in an area that seems to have captured more funding than anticipated, when they wheel out a rent-a-quote councillor to the local press who claims they wont spend it on any more of that stuff (LTNs, pop up protected lanes etc) that the DfT seemed to signal it wanted in these bids.

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brooksby replied to Awavey | 3 years ago
0 likes

True. Their proposals should be open and public record.

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Doctor Darabuka replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
3 likes
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brooksby replied to Doctor Darabuka | 3 years ago
1 like

Exactly! Just like that! yes

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Awavey replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
3 likes

now just need the rest to follow suit  1  interesting that they bid for 1.5million the majority of which they wanted to spend resurfacing existing routes, not really surprising they lost out, but they must have thought it met the DfT guidance criteria

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to Doctor Darabuka | 3 years ago
1 like

there are no engineer drawings that I can see so it's all a bit nebulous. Plus much of it seems to be resurfacing and widening of existing tow paths. 

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HarrogateSpa replied to Awavey | 3 years ago
0 likes

I think councils did publish their bids, or should have. Here's North Yorkshire's.

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roadrunner23 replied to HarrogateSpa | 3 years ago
0 likes

Wow that's a real compare and contrast moment. I know the sums of money are very different but.....

 

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