Safety And Transport Projects Shelved Amid Budget Cuts

PROJECTS to improve transport and safety in Ely have been put on hold as the county council struggles to balance its budget, councillors have claimed. The projects, which include cycling and walking initiatives designed to encourage people from driving i

PROJECTS to improve transport and safety in Ely have been put on hold as the county council struggles to balance its budget, councillors have claimed.

The projects, which include cycling and walking initiatives designed to encourage people from driving into the city centre, were included in a �1 million package of transport plan money.

But Liberal Democrat councillors are claiming that the county council has put several projects designed for the city on hold as the council looks to slash its spending and cover the overspend on the St Ives to Cambridge guided bus project.

Ely County Councillor Nigel Bell said: "These cuts to the Market Town Strategy Fund have hit East Cambridgeshire particularly hard. The whole programme has practically ground to a halt, as the money is no longer there."

"The guided busway will bring little benefit to this part of the county. Why on earth should our community be footing the bill for it?"

Ely projects cut to cover the overspend include:

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The A142/Lancaster Way survey

Ely, Cycling & walking: High Barns to Lynn Road improvement

Ely, Walking: Pedestrian accessibility survey

Ely, Cycling: Western boundary improvements

Ely, Cycling: Publicity map

Ely, Public transport: Infrastructure/Real Time Bus Information improvements.

Cllr Fred Brown, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, has hit back at the claims, however, saying that the cuts to the Ely projects were not related to the guided busway overspend.

"All local authorities are facing extreme financial pressures across the country and it is no surprise that some services and projects are being looked at, he said.

"However the reductions being put forward by the county council are not related specifically to the busway. They are part of the council's overall budgeting this year which reflects the cuts they expect the Government will make in the amount of transport funding they receive.

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