The UKIP group on Cambridgeshire County Council has attacked the council’s plans for events to celebrate the Tour de France as a waste of money.
UKIP councillors say that funding community events to celebrate the race’s arrival cannot be justified while services are being axed, according to Cambridge News.
The council is offering grants for activities that “involve and motivate people to create a lasting and positive legacy”, but council bosses say the money comes from currently unallocated funds, and no extra money will be spent.
Councillor Paul Bullen, leader of the UKIP group on the council said: “I have serious concerns that some of the officers at the county council have been given delegated authority to spend money on a scheme like this which is not part of our statutory provision.
“This money could be spent on the frontline, doing what we have to do like looking after the old and vulnerable and young, not on some project we shouldn’t be contributing to at all.”
His colleague Cllr Peter Reeve said the council should not be “throwing money into having a party” when the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon faced closure in a bid to save £20,000.
A county council spokesman said: “When Welcome to Yorkshire asked Cambridge to become part of their bid to host the third stage of the Grand Depart 2014, both Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council made it clear we were happy to support the event but would not be making a financial contribution to the costs of it.
“This is the commitment we have made to our local taxpayers. We have always been open and clear with everyone involved in the event that this is our position.
“The cycle legacy small grant fund is to support activities or events linked to and inspired by cycling or Le Tour. The £20,000 fund comes from existing county budgets which are available to help local communities and uses monies from budgets that are currently unallocated – it is not additional funding for delivering the Tour.”
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.