At Cabinet on 27 January, scrutiny from County Councillor Iain Dobie and Cheltenham Borough Councillors revealed that the Conservatives have no plans to invest in any of the additional cycling schemes identified in the Local Transport Plan or the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan.
Gloucestershire County Council’s revised Local Transport Plan and Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans include a number of cycling schemes previously identified by county and district council officers, and additional schemes identified through the Local Transport Plan consultation. However, as revealed under scrutiny from Cllr Iain Dobie, the County Council has no plans to build any of these additional schemes in the coming year.
Conservative Cabinet Member, Cllr Nigel Moor, confirmed that only the Cheltenham to Gloucester cycle route will be started in 2021, and that other schemes will not be built unless external funding is found.
none of the other schemes would be realised if external funding could be found.
Furthermore, scrutiny from Cheltenham Borough Councillors revealed that no cycling improvements in the town would be funded by Gloucestershire County Council, the Highways Authority.
Cllr Iain Dobie, Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat Walking and Cycling champion, said of the plans:
“Claims that this is a green transport plan are utter nonsense. Identifying critical and strategic cycling routes throughout Gloucestershire is only as useful as the funding available, and the Cabinet Member confirmed this morning that they aren’t providing a penny for any of the additional or previously identified schemes.
“For any of these cycling routes to become a reality, this council needs to put its money where its mouth is – because Gloucestershire deserves better than more empty promises.”
Cllr Max Wilkinson, Cabinet Member for Climate and Communities, commented:
“This year’s County Council budget is hugely disappointing for Cheltenham residents who are demanding more cycle routes and better pedestrian access. We understand that the county council is short on resources, so the Borough Council produced the Connecting Cheltenham report and Cheltways scheme to do some of the hard work for them - so it's confusing to say the least that these ideas have been mostly ignored.
“As admitted this morning by the Cabinet Member, the cycling provision in the town is inadequate in that the vast majority doesn’t meet new Government standards. Despite this the County Council is not investing anything to improve this essential network within Cheltenham.
“The cycling route between Cheltenham and Gloucester will be helpful for those small number already commuting between the two settlements, but does nothing to help the vast majority of Cheltenham cyclists whose day to day trips remain in the town. Cheltenham deserves more funding in safe walking and cycling.”