Council rejects free bike racks

13:15 04 February 2014

Archant

Civic leaders have been criticised for rejecting a free offer to have new cycle racks installed in Budleigh, at the same time as rubber-stamping plans for a new £20,000 cycle path.

Budleigh Salterton Town Council had received an offer of four racks from engineering firm Jacobs, which has been commissioned by Devon County Council to install cycle parking facilities across the county.

The offer came as the council agreed to support the recommendations of a working party which said the cycle path across the Green – paid for by Section 106 money from developers - should go ahead.

However, despite giving this encouragement to cycling, and the cost of the proposed racks being fully paid for by the county council, at their meeting this week town councillors decided to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

Jacobs had proposed racks be installed at Lime Kiln, at the foot of Coastguard Hill, on Marine Parade near the gentlemen’s club car park, and at the Public Hall, but councillors felt many of these locations, particularly the ones on the seafront, were cause for concern.

Town mayor Steve Hall said: “We ask people to adhere to signs at each end of the seafront path which say ‘no cycling’. I think it would be ridiculous to then put cycle racks there.”

Councillor Linda Evans also raised concern about the proposed location next to the Public Hall bus stop, and councillors pointed out there are some racks already in the town, including at the library.

However, Councillor Chris Kitson was more favourable to the idea, saying: “It’s a good offer if it doesn’t cost us anything. We’ve got a cycle track going in soon, we are encouraging people to cycle.”

Despite this, the council resolved to reject the idea at this time.

It did leave the door open to revisit the offer in future, but it is not clear if the funding would still be available.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Kitson, a member of the Section 106 working party, said he was disappointed that the council had not at least taken more time to consider the offer, and perhaps suggest alternative locations.

He said: “I was disappointed that my council colleagues felt unable to accept this free and generous offer.”

Budleigh resident David Capel-Jones, who has lobbied councillors on cycling matters, said: “If the county council said there is extra money available I don’t understand why the town council has turned it down. It seems daft to me.”

The proposed cycle path on the Green will run from Moor Lane to the Public Hall, parallel to existing footpaths.

Now it has been backed by the town council, East Devon District Council will now go out to tender for the work to be done.

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