REDDITCH is ‘chomping at the bit’ to more to encourage cycling in the borough but are powerless because all the decision making rests with Worcestershire County Council.
That was the message from the Borough Council’s leisure chief Councillor Mike Rouse who spoke of his delight at the government giving £250million to promote cycling in this financial year – and the frustration of not being able to play a direct role in spending it.
“This isn’t a pop at the County Council, more at the system,”said Coun Rouse (Con, Church Hill).
“We as boroughs and districts in Worcestershire are chomping at the bit to do more with cycling – we know our areas and we know our people but all the control mechanisms sit with the County Council.”
And he added: “We are more than happy to relieve them of that burden and improve cycling facilities in Redditch.”
Across the country there was been an explosion in the number of cyclists taking to the road due to the need for social distancing on public transport and the lockdown restrictions on drivers.
The borough’s Green Party leader Claire Davies last week argued that Redditch, with its huge network of footpaths, was an ideal candidate to profit from the government’s initiative, a point Coun Rouse said he agreed with.
“We are in a great position as a borough from a paths and open spaces perspective. We have got miles of footpaths going right across Redditch which are perfectly capable of being upgraded.
“Redditch is well positioned to be front and foremost in expanding cycling, and not just pushbikes, but e-bikes and e-scooters.”
Given the opportunity, to begin with he said he’d like to see greater use made of the borough’s bus lanes by cyclists and improved signposting.
Redditch also has the lowest ratio of car ownership in the county.