Peterborough’s Combined Authority Mayor calls for Crescent Bridge cycle lane to be reopened
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Combined Authority Mayor Dr Nik Johnson has called on Peterborough City Council to reopen a consultation on the Crecsent Bridge cycle scheme.
The decision to remove the pop-up cycle lane caused much controversy in July but the council insisted that the lane was underused.
The removal of the lane is thought to be one of the main reasons that the Department for Transport took the decision to withhold all of the combined authority’s active travel funding from the Capability Fund when the second tranche of funding was announced that month, seeing the body potentially miss out on over £1m.
Dr Johnson has vowed to prove his commitment to active travel and on Wednesday (September 22) met with Minister for Transport Chris Heaton-Harris MP to discuss plans.
Following the meeting, he has called for the return of several active travel schemes across the region, including Crescent Bridge in Peterborough and has warned the area faces missing out on more funding if this is not the case.
He said: “I had a successful meeting with Chris Heaton-Harris MP. It was a very positive meeting to confirm my commitment to active travel in the region.
“We had to acknowledge that the government had been disappointed with the outcomes of previous schemes and to recognise why they withheld the funding.
“I sat down with the minister and it was clear that both of us shared that determination to embrace a more healthy and active lifestyle and the CPCA’s commitment to enlarging and increasing an active travel plan in the area.
“Going forward, in agreement with the government and now with the promise of further funding, I really want to make it clear that I support the desire to see those schemes back on track but it has to be subject to a full meaningful consultation.
“I want to open up the transparency of what happens when the combined authority has these discussions about funding of devolved monies. As a leader of a combined authority, I have to make it clear about my commitment; I can’t impose these things, you have to work with the constituent parts and they need to realise that in order for us to deliver for the wider communities that these schemes are seen as important by the government. Therefore, it is a good idea to put these back on the table.
“We need money, quite large amounts of money to make the difference, it’s only by believing in this and by showing our commitment that we want to deliver on active travel will we be able to spend it.”
Dr Johnson has already held talks with representatives of the city council and is not calling for a return of the lane exactly how it was but is keen for its return in some form and finding an adequate solution with a new consultation.
He added: “This needs more consultation about what are the possibilities. I’ve already had conversations with reperesentatives and I recognise that the sharing of a cycle lane on the bridge with traffic coming into the city might not be the right option.
“What I’m trying to say in working with Peterborough City Council is why don’t we look at some other option, which would be more sustainable and even safer”