A £750,000 pavement cycle route in Colchester has been dug up by contractors to put in a cable, just months after it was created. While the path in Mile End Road will be restored afterwards, many local cyclists already consider it a waste of money and it is currently the subject of a formal complaint by Colchester Cycling Campaign (CCC).
Freedom of Information requests on Essex County Council’s plans for the shared use pavement revealed that there was no request for the route, or research data collected on cycling levels.
Around 75 driveways or road junctions intercept the route and CCC predicted that cyclists wouldn’t use it.
Mile End Road resident Robert Johnstone told the Maldon and Burnham Standard that in his estimation fewer than five cyclists a week had been using the path – one of whom had ridden into a pedestrian.
“Cyclists, no matter how experienced they are, feel it is a little bit unsafe,” he said. “The only people who cycle up and down are those who aren’t aware of the dangers or don’t care.”
Following the formal complaint by CCC, the project is now under investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman.
Speaking about the current work, Johnstone said: “I wonder why it is necessary to install electrical infrastructure now and it was unnecessary around six months ago when they were building the footway. Why didn’t they think of it then? I think it is a shambles and the highways authority aren’t correctly liaising with the others.”
Martin Goss, ward councillor for Mile End on Colchester Council, said that a three month delay to work on the path last year had partly been so that other cabling could be put in. “I don’t understand why this is now happening,” he said. “It is just ludicrous.”
A county council spokesperson said the latest work only came to light after the project had been completed and was being conducted by a third party who will be picking up the cost.