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Landowners will be bought off by under-fire council

Land in Bristol that has been 'difficult' to acquire will be compulsorily purchased to improve cycle lanes and routes through the city.

Bristol City Council agreed to push ahead with the purchase four parcels of land at the rear of Berkeley House in Lawrence Hill, at Bath Road, and Station Road in Brislington and at the Kingsland trading estate in St Phillips. The amount of money being spent on the four sites was not disclosed at the meeting but the money will come from existing budgets.

The move comes following fierce criticism of the council's handling of its Cycling City status – not least from Cycling England, which awarded Bristol the £22.8m prize in the first place and have attached the council for not moving the project on quickly enough.

Almost every part of the city will be served by a cyclepath. The aim is to make it possible for cyclists to ride from Bradley Stoke, through the city centre and to the south as far as Hengrove, entirely on cycleways.

But there are gaps in the network where land is privately owned and negotiations with some owners have proved "difficult", council officers told the Bristol Evening Post.

The council plans to spend £10 million on cycle routes this year but its grant from the Department of Transport could be jeopardised if the routes are not completed.

The land owners have the right to object to compulsory purchase orders, which could lead to a public inquiry.