Hartlepool cycle scheme axed because of budget cuts

Councillors cancel £200K project; is this the sign of things to come?

by Martin Thomas   July 16, 2010  

Hartlepool Borough Council logo (Credit: Timtastik)

Councillors in Hartlepool have axed plans for new cycle lanes after the council was forced to find £259,000 savings from its transport budget.

The council’s transport team had hoped to spend £200,000 on new cycles lanes and improved signage across the town but the squeeze on public spending has forced them to reconsider.

The Hartlepool Mail reports that Labour councillor Peter Jackson approved the cuts. He said it was a "very difficult" decision to take, but stressed that road maintenance and school safety schemes were the priority.

The £259,000 equates to 11 per cent of the overall transport budget for this year.

Alastair Smith, the council's assistant director of transportation and engineering, said: "In order to achieve the saving of £259,000 there are two main options: reduce the budgets of all schemes by 11 per cent or recover the cost from one or more individual schemes."

Councillor Jackson said he didn't think it was fair to have an 11 per cent cut across the board. He said: "It is a very difficult decision to make and I am sure that there will be more to come with the reductions this Government is going to bring. The bulk of the reductions is coming from the cycling scheme.”

The public sector spending squeeze is now firmly on – and will only intensify after the Spending Review in October. So does cycling represent an easy target – and is it taking more than its share of cuts?

Not so far, according to Andy Wistow, Sustrans Nations and Regions Director. He said, "We know that local authorities are reviewing budgets and looking at potential cuts but as yet there is no sign that walking and cycling initiatives are being targeted any more than any other transport initiatives.

“We continue to work with local authorities to show the value of funding more sustainable transport initiatives – which not only make good financial sense but also have wider environment and health benefits for local communities."

5 user comments

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Don't councils have a legal duty to maintain the road for cars, but no such duty to provide anything for cycling?

posted by kelvin [13 posts]
16th July 2010 - 14:36

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Quote:
Councillor Jackson said he didn't think it was fair to have an 11 per cent cut across the board

no, much better to slash it all from one user group, of which he presumably isn't a part.

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posted by cactuscat [299 posts]
16th July 2010 - 15:17

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It would certainly be easier for a number of different budget holders to make small cuts but the choice seems to be 11% acroos the board or 100% of a minority user group's budget. Simple choice really.

Isn't Hartlepool the place with a monkey for a Mayor?

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

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posted by jova54 [525 posts]
17th July 2010 - 20:22

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My company has been saying that they are going to run the cycle to work scheme for over a year now and it's not looking likely due to budget restraints.

Budgets are being squeezed everywhere folks!! Sad

Over the Hills and far away!!

posted by highwaymunky [38 posts]
18th July 2010 - 8:42

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Since most councils seem unable to keep the roads in a reasonable state with what money they have an 11% cut would probably see the roads getting steadilly worse. Plus lets face it, a council 'cyclescheme' usually only amounts to some green paint and round cycle signs being fixed to lamp posts. So at least this way the roads might be at least rideable if not any safer. Sad

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posted by STATO [400 posts]
19th July 2010 - 16:52

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