Pop-up cycle lanes are disappearing before they have even been installed — as the Government and Isle of Wight Council do a U-turn on plans.
Residents and businesses in Cowes and Newport have been fighting against six schemes for pop-up cycle lanes and associated road layout changes that were due to be installed next week, and have got a result.
One scheme in Little London, Newport, would see no vehicles allowed on the road passing The Bargeman’s Rest — with fears from the owners of the pub it would shut down their business, as only those on bikes would be able to pass.
Another in Cowes, on Beckford Road, would see parking moved to the other side of the road, a one-way system introduced and a cycle lane going in the opposite direction.
Residents of Beckford Road have been writing to the Isle of Wight Council and lobbying local councillors to stop the installation due to health fears —as they sayexhaust fumes could go directly into basement windows with the changes.
Grant Shapps has ‘changed his mind’
Now, however, it is believed the schemes have been dropped and the Isle of Wight Council is halting the proposals, funded by an emergency active travel grant from the government in light of Covid-19.
Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport for the council, Cllr Ian Ward, confirmed the measures have been stopped after the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps ‘changed his mind’.
Over the weekend, Mr Shapps wrote in The Telegraph, claiming local authorities were ‘abusing’ the money and now the ’emergency had passed’ there was more time to consult residents.
Ward: “These were the ones we had to do”
Cllr Ward said:
“What a lot of people don’t understand is these [schemes] were emergency Covid measures, directed by the government — all schemes were approved by the Department for Transport (DfT), so these were the ones we had to do.
“We were told this was an emergency, with no time for consultation — which is what a lot of people are up in arms about — just go ahead and get it done. At the weekend [Mr Shapps] changed his mind and stopped them all so that is why we stopped.
“We will review them all — some we may drop completely, some we may do in a modified form. There are other options that are probably more acceptable to the public but they were only ever temporary measures.”
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed