East Sussex County Council is set to scrap half the planned cycling and walking schemes, despite receiving more than its originally allocated share of Department for Transport (DfT) emergency active travel funding due to the quality of its proposals.
The Argus reports that of the 16 planned schemes for pedestrians and cyclists, council officials have recommended shelving nine of them – raising the prospect that the DfT will claw back some of the first-tranche funding it awarded the local authority.
Among the schemes that are scheduled to be discontinued are a cycle lane on the A259 coastal road linking Newhaven and Peacehaven, as well as one to widen pavements on Lewes High Street.
Liberal Democrat David Tutt, the leader of Eastbourne Council, said: “Public expectations were very high, particularly when the county council announced its proposals had been so well received by the Department for Transport that more money had been allocated than had been asked for.
“The fact that so many of the schemes have now been withdrawn has caused reputational damage to the county council and has undermined the huge efforts made by volunteers in the community who have put forward well-researched schemes,” he added.
According to the Argus, the following schemes will now be shelved:
Wider pavements from the A259 in Bishopstone to Marine Parade in Seaford as “significant works” would be needed
A cycle lane on the A259 between Peacehaven and Newhaven as works would be “very disruptive”
Wider pavements in Lewes High Street and School Hill as traders are opposed and social distancing rules have been relaxed
Wider pavements in Devonshire Road and Western Road in Bexhill as there has been a lot of opposition and social distancing rules have been relaxed
Wider pavements from Warrior Square to London Road in Hastings as the scheme would be small
Closing Bolton Road to Langney Road in Eastbourne between 10am and 10pm each day as the impact would be “too significant”
Partially closing Rye High Street as businesses are opposed to the move.
The newspaper reports a county council spokeswoman as saying that the decision not to proceed with some of those planned initiatives was due to “extremely tight” deadlines which in turn meant design issues could not be resolved.
She said: “As well as strict criteria for acceptable schemes, the Government has insisted that any measures must be in place within eight weeks of money being awarded,” she said.
“We undertook consultation on the measures and we listened to all the feedback before deciding which schemes we could progress.
“However, later this year we will be consulting on our draft local cycling and walking infrastructure plan which will look at longer-term, permanent schemes to encourage active travel.”
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.