Ely Cycling Campaign describes council’s spending on infrastructure as ‘pathetic’


ECDC - Credit: Archant

A GROUP promoting cycling in Ely has criticised the “pathetic” amounts of funding that have been set aside for cycling infrastructure in and around the city.

The Ely Cycling Campaign was responding to a new set of figures released by East Cambridgeshire District Council under the Freedom of Information Act, which show it has spent £3,500 on cycling infrastructure in 2012/13, with another £2,000 planned.

According to the figures, the £3,500 went on the West of Ely Cycleway Link, with the £2,000 earmarked for cycle racks at the Paradise Centre and extra spending on the cycleway link.

In 2010/11, £10,000 was contributed to the cost of the cycleway in High Barns and in 2011/12, the council said that £93,000 was spent on the cycleway link and producing cycle maps.

A spokesman for the campaign said: “Obviously the level of funding is utterly inadequate. The council’s master plan, local plan and vision documents all state that the council wants to encourage cycling but this level of funding is not going to make any difference at all.

“To put the numbers into perspective, the £3,500 for the current year equates to just 8.75m of cycle lane. If the council seriously wants to encourage cycling it needs to dedicate proper levels of funding to doing so.

“It’s not bad enough that the level of funding is pathetic but the improvements that have been funded are not where the money is required. The West of Ely Cycleway which is in fact a shared use footpath goes nowhere useful - like into the city centre or to the station - and has no signs to show that cycling is allowed.

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“To try to change this we’re working on a strategy that we want the council to adopt which looks at the city and surrounding area as a whole and outlines a comprehensive approach to changes that will give a joined up and useful cycle network that can be safely used by everyone.”

Giles Hughes, head of planning and sustainable development, said: “While we are not responsible for providing new cycling infrastructure in East Cambridgeshire, we have – by using money we have obtained from developers – supported projects which have improved the ability to cycle around the district from finishing cycle paths on public open space in Ely to funding cycle racks.

“The main challenge for us in the next few months is to determine how best to allocate the money we have received from Sainsbury’s.

“Obviously there are a number of worthy projects but we hope we can use the funding to help cyclists in conjunction with the projects currently being looked at by Cambridgeshire County Council.”