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Norwich Council accused of spending Cycle City Ambition money on parking spaces

Council says Push the Pedalways project also has other sources of funding

Norwich City Council has defended itself after local campaigners accused it of using cycling money to build parking spaces. The council is to construct parking spaces along The Avenues as part of the £5.7m Push the Pedalways programme, but Norwich Cycling Campaign says it has been told there is not enough money to build separate cycle lanes there.

On its Facebook page, Norwich Cycling Campaign accused the City Council of funding the building of car parking spaces along The Avenues verges with Cycle City Ambition funds. The group says it is an inappropriate use of the money. “This is not quality cycling provision to increase the safety of cycle users along The Avenues, or encourage more people to cycle.”

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A spokesperson for Norwich City Council told that the work had been part of the original application for Cycle City Ambition funding and that the Push the Pedalways project also had other sources of funding.

“Plans to improve the verges where residents park their cars in The Avenues were part of our original grant application to the Department for Transport in 2013. The funding was therefore awarded on the basis that it was always the council’s intention to improve some of the areas immediately next to the pink pedalway and not just the cycle path itself.

“In addition, £2m of the overall £5.7m allocated to the Push the Pedalways scheme as a whole came from local transport and health money and Section 106 developer contributions, so not all money spent is Cycle City Ambition Grant money from the DfT.”

Norwich Cycling Campaign says that earlier this year it was told there was not enough money to build separate cycle lanes; that to protect the tree roots in the area would have meant digging by hand which it was told would be too expensive.

However, they say that not only is there enough money to provide car parking spaces, but claim that mechanical diggers will be used to do the groundworks.

“We have publicly congratulated Norwich Council in securing these grants for cycling improvements in our city, but what we also expect is adequate management and investment of those funds with quality, value for money schemes that make a difference to the cycle users of our city, but also to those that are put off by current conditions. We don't expect the ambition shown by the council when applying for Cycling Ambitions Grants, to actually dilute when planning and building the schemes.”

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