REDDITCH is well placed to benefit from the government’s £2billion plan to get the country walking and cycling more, claims town MP Rachel Maclean.
‘Gear Change – A Bold Vision for Cycling and Walking with a forward by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, offers major chapters on ‘Better streets for cycling and people’ ‘Cycling at the heart of decision-making’ and ‘Empowering and encouraging Local Authorities’.
Mrs Maclean said: “Cycling and walking are at the heart of our green recovery.
“It’s often said how well built Redditch is for more bike lanes, so, working with local colleagues, we’re determined to be ambitious and improve cycling in our town.”
It comes at a time when the local highways authority, Worcestershire County Council, has been accused of lacking ambition in capitalising on the interest in cycling generated both during lockdown and as it eases.
Earlier this month the county was only awarded £135,000 from the Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund with none of the money going to Redditch, although some has been earmarked to improve the route between Bromsgrove and Redditch.
Meanwhile there’s frustration at the lack of progress by Redditch Borough Council on the ‘pump track’ for young cyclists promised by the town’s BMX park.
A pump track is where young cyclists can use bikes without pedals – ideal for gaining balance and bike handling skills – and ‘pump’ their way around over bumps.
“What the government is promising sounds wonderful – if it comes to fruition,” said Paul Berry of Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club.
“With regard to the pump track it’s been getting on for ten months now and we’re still no further forward, when it could have been built by now and be in use,” he said.
A spokesperson for the borough council said: “The pump track and cycle projects are part of a bigger picture which was put on hold when the pandemic struck.
“We are now hoping to get back on track and will meet with partners to look at a way forward, including possible match funding.”