Roads minister backs Portsmouth cycle route improvements

Leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones with transport minister Robert Goodwill MP. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150587-2505)
Leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones with transport minister Robert Goodwill MP. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (150587-2505)

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MORE money could be brought in by the government to improve cycling routes in Portsmouth.

Roads minister Robert Goodwill said he wants to do what he can to help the city – but warned bids for cash to the government need to be realistic.

It comes as cycling campaigners keep up the pressure on the city council to lobby for money to help make roads safer for users.

Mr Goodwill visited the city yesterday and went on a bike ride with council leader Donna Jones along the seafront’s cycle route to get an idea of what it’s like for everyday cyclists.

Speaking to The News, Mr Goodwill said: ‘The prime minister has made it clear he wants to see a cycling revolution in this country.

‘In terms of government spending, we had a situation where we were spending £2 per head on cycling and in the last five years that has increased to £5 per head.’

He added: ‘We obviously have bids in for funding, through schemes like the sustainable transport fund.

‘Portsmouth is one of those places which hasn’t been as successful as other cities in getting that money, and one of the things I want to do is work with the city to put forward schemes that offer better value for money.’

Mr Goodwill added he wants to try to encourage more people with bikes in their sheds to start using them as an alternative to their car. On the issue of the recent decision by Cllr Jones to scrap a contentious bus lane going into the city centre, Mr Goodwill said it was important to strike a ‘balance’ between motorists and public transport users.

He added it was not Whitehall’s place to interfere in such local decisions.

Cllr Jones said: ‘Robert signposted a couple of different funding pots we can apply for which are particularly relevant to Portsmouth.

‘We have now got staff at the council working on putting in bids for grants so we can build new cycle lanes across Portsmouth.’