Portsmouth council calls for MPs to secure £6.7m in funding for cycle schemes

CALLS have been made for MPs to secure more than £6m in funding to make Portsmouth a safer city for cyclists.

Thursday, 15th June 2017, 3:01 pm
Updated Friday, 16th June 2017, 12:18 pm
Portsmouth City Council is calling on MPs to secure funding for new cycle routes

Portsmouth City Council has written to Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt and newly elected Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan.

In their letter leader of the council Donna Jones and cabinet member for traffic and transportation Councillor Simon Bosher have made urgent requests for the politicians’ support in securing money from central government for cycling improvements.

It comes as cyclist Tim Atkins was killed on the Eastern Road recently and another cyclist was seriously injured in a crash on Fratton bridge, on June 1.

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Cllr Jones said: ‘The tragic accident on the Eastern Road has saddened us all and our thoughts are with the family and friends of those affected.

‘The council has a good working relationship with organisations such as British Cycling, Sustrans and Portsmouth Cycle Forum and we will continue our work with them to help Portsmouth realise its potential for cycling.

‘If our MPs can help gain the funding the city needs we can continue to make a genuine difference to improve facilities and safety for cyclists.’

Within the letter to the MPs, the council has asked for funding for 15 schemes with costs ranging from £100,000 to £1m. In total, the projects will need around £6.7m. These include:

- Southsea seafront cycle route (£750k)

- Norway Road Cyclist Bridge, and cycle improvements (£500k)

- Hope Street Upgrade (£1m)

- James Callaghan Drive segregated cycle route (£500k)

- Improved cycle access to the Portsmouth International Port (£200k)

Cllr Bosher said: ‘As a council we are already doing great work to promote cycling and have various ongoing schemes to improve facilities.

‘But we can only do so much with the funding we have.

‘To become a truly cycle-friendly city we need more money and hopefully, with the help of our MPs, government will listen to our call.’

In the letter, the councillors said the number of people killed or seriously injured has increased from 26 to 38 incidents.

It added: ‘We want to continue to support and enable individuals to cycle in our city.

‘Unfortunately, Portsmouth remains a high casualty city, particularly in terms of collisions involving cyclists.

‘By next March, we will have spent £2.5m over three years to improve the safety of cycling in the city.

‘However, the council has seen a 44 per cent reduction in funding from central government over the last six years.

‘Although we can progress some cycling improvements we do not have the ability to fund the scale of transformation we desperately need to reach our potential as a cycling city.

‘To move further towards Portsmouth becoming a cycling-friendly city it is critically important that we implement the schemes.’