Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 25, 2018

Cycling Funds Abused?

Our local councils, WLBC and LCC, have abysmal records on cycling and road safety. But the non-use, or abuse, of available funding for cycling safety has become the subject of a challenge from OWL  member Cllr Adrian Owens .

He writes about “The saga of the long delayed cycle route from the town centre to Edge Hill”

“As a result of development at Edge Hill, Edge Hill had to provide monies (known technically as Section 106 monies) to mitigate the impacts of development that could not be mitigated through conditions on the development itself. One of these is the impact on roads of travel to and from the University and so monies sit in the Borough Council’s bank to provide a cycle route between the stations in Ormskirk Town centre and the University.

“The County Council (I get a sinking feeling now simply typing those words) is responsible for coming up with a scheme to spend this money. Their West Lancashire Transport Masterplan promised the cycle route would be complete by March 2017. Throughout the period 2015-2017, County Council Officers responsible for this scheme came and went, portfolio holders changed and I and Borough Council officers became increasingly frustrated and yet nothing progressed.

“The County Council came up with a scheme that was elaborate and hundreds of thousands of pounds greater than the budget available and so was shelved. Therefore, last year, working with one dedicated local resident from Ruff Lane, we drew up an alternative, fully-costed scheme which was checked by Quantity Surveyors from a large Civil Engineering company. This would not only have provided a safe route from the bus/rail stations to Edge Hill, but also have provided quality speed calming measures on Ruff Lane.

“That speed calming is important. What student or other cyclist  is going to take their lives in their hands by using two wheeled transport with the speeds witnessed on our roads? The 20 mph signs are simply not sufficient. The scheme we costed came well within the amount of monies provided by Edge Hill, yet the County Council rejected it without much consideration because it utilised Knowsley Road which was deemed “too narrow”. Given that Knowsley Road is part of the A570 arterial road and no detailed rationale for this statement about it being “too narrow” being given, I remain of the view that this route should be seriously considered.

“In the meantime we have money sat in the bank; a scheme that is already two years late; no plan in place; no speed calming on Ruff Lane; nor the improved facilities for students and others to cycle. When local residents and councillors take the time and trouble they have, then the County Council needs to adopt a more cooperative and energetic approach. Then perhaps Ormskirk might see at least ONE transport improvement”.

The WLBC list of infrastructure projects is a requirement of CIL Regulation 123. It is therefore known as a ‘Regulation 123 list’, or ‘R123 list’ for short. The WLBC R123 includes “Strategic transport and highways improvements or provision to include: cycle network provision and improvements”.

Can anyone hold out hopes of us being told how much S106 (R123) is available to provide relief of the frustration caused?

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