28th Nov, 2020

Redditch Tories slam County Hall 'intransigence' over Active Travel

REDDITCH Tories have blasted the ‘intransigence’ of their Conservative colleagues at County Hall over their lack of support for the government’s Active Travel agenda.

The broadside came as councillors on the borough’s all-powerful executive committee debated whether Redditch should apply to the Department for Transport for permission to carry out an e-scooter trial in the town.

After welcoming support from Labour Councillors Bill Hartnett (Church Hill) and Greg Chance (Central), the authority’s deputy leader Coun Mike Rouse took aim at Worcestershire County Council, which is the town’s highways authority.

He said: “The one thing that has been frustrating in all of this is the county council’s intransigence on this issue.

“Speaking as Redditch Conservatives we are four-square behind the government’s Active Travel agenda which includes cycling, e-bikes, and e-scooters.

“The partnership working at county level has been disappointing to date and we have had far better buy-in and support from West Midlands Combined authority, who have tried on numerous occasions to contact and work with Worcestershire County Council but have been met with intransigence and delays.”

Coun Rouse added: “I hope this sends a clear message back to Worcestershire County Council that they really need to join us on the page and start supporting the residents of this borough and right across the county who are positive and optimistic about Active Travel.”

The committee unanimously resolved to submit a bid on or around August 31 for an e-scooter trial .

If approved, the authority will be free to look for a private sector provider of e-scooters.

It’s estimated the trial would involve about 100 e-scooters, limited to a top speed of 15.5mph.

Users would need at least a provisional driving licence and would not be allowed on footpaths or roads where the speed limit is above 30mph.

Operated by an app, the trial would be limited to the town centre, but extend as far as Webheath, Southcrest, Forge Mill and the Abbey Stadium.

If Redditch is unable to find an operator the town could apply to be incorporated in the WMCA trial.

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