Under scrutiny from County Councillor Iain Dobie and Cheltenham Borough Councillor, Max Wilkinson, Gloucestershire County Council has, for the first time, shared the damning feedback on their Active Travel bid from the Department of Transport. 

Under the Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund, established to help Local Authorities reallocate road space for cyclists and pedestrians, Gloucestershire County Council was told to expect £1,153,000 in the second tranche of funding.  However, after reviewing the County Council’s proposals, the Department for Transport slashed their support to just £864,750 – a near £300,000 cut.

The feedback – shared exclusively here – states that the schemes picked out by Gloucestershire County Council did not meet current best practice, was not sufficiently ambitious and had elements of poor design. 

Cllr Max Wilkinson, Cheltenham Borough Council Cabinet Member for Climate and Communities, commented on this feedback:

“It is clear that the proposals put forward by this administration do not align with Conservative Government policy and that prioritising just one flagship scheme – connecting Gloucester to Cheltenham – has meant we have lost out on much-needed extra funding for sustainable transport projects.

“I’m certainly not going to outright oppose the county’s big project, but I really think it misses the point about how we can increase cycling rates to improve people’s health, reduce pollution and boost local business.  It is the shorter journeys within urban areas that we must tackle, yet they will receive no additional funding from the County Council this year despite Cheltenham Borough Council undertaking important planning work in the Connecting Cheltenham report.”

Cllr Iain Dobie, Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat Walking and Cycling champion, added:

“The tragedy of all of this is that it has cost Gloucestershire’s residents nearly £300,000 in Government funding – meaning we will all lose out on the critical infrastructure that would have made cycling and walking throughout the county safer and more accessible.

“Feedback from the Tory Government, that the design prioritised motor vehicles over cyclists and pedestrians, shows that the County Council needs a fundamental change of mindset.  This is a huge own goal by the Conservative leadership, but it is the public who, yet again, will pay for their mistakes.”



Full Department for Transport feedback on GCC’s Tranche 2 bid:

DfT EATF Tranche 2 Design Review >£2m schemes

Local Authority

52 Gloucestershire County Council


Scheme 1: B4063 Cycle Scheme

Scheme cost


Does the scheme meet current best practice?


What is good?


Strategic route provides connectivity to local communities and associated services.

What needs to be improved?


Fundamental principles of design appear based on a retention of carriageway space and private motor vehicle capacity, (it is noted that by stop laybys are retained, deprioritising public transport and resulting in poor quality pedestrian and cycle provision).  Suggest this approach is addressed at strategic level.

It is clear from the design document that consideration has been given to this fact and there are numerous notations identifying potential designs which would be improvements to the proposals; however this still does not adequately address the issue of motor vehicle dominance.  It is also unclear what stage of design these are at.

B4063 could potentially be more than a local distributor road as the A40 provides a bypass to this corridor and access toward the city centre via roads with more overall highway width available for corridor improvements; there are clear opportunities for network level interventions to help progress more ambitious schemes on the local road network

Are there any critical fails?


Extensive use of shared use paths in inappropriate areas, poor and indirect provision at junctions. Could seek to maximise pedestrian and cycling space through carriageway narrowing etc.

Suggestions on how scheme could be enhanced?


The scheme design should be reviewed, in line with principles of pedestrian and cycle priority.  While provision in line with LTN 1/20 wasn’t required for bids, the quality of the design is driven by the philosophy behind it which must be to enable and encourage active means of transport through proactive and ambitious proposals.

Does the scheme improve facilities for walking?

Extensive use of shared use (cycle/pedestrian) provision could potentially hamper pedestrian access.

Any other comments?




Parallel and less direct route to A40 corridor, which should also be addressed to provide direct cycle and foot infrastructure.

Aspirations are heavily qualified and it is unclear what the ambition for the route could have been clearer.

Designs as shown are heavily motor centric and could provide higher quality cycle and pedestrian infrastructure in line with LTN 1/20,(e.g. indirect crossings, no side road priority and so on).  Optional aspirations marked on the drawings provide suitable interventions, however the design approach presented could have shown greater ambition to address carriageway space and motor capacity/dominance.

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