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Money available for initiatives such as pool bikes, bike storage or showers and changing facilities

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is offering grants of up to £5,000 to help local businesses encourage their employees to leave the car at home and instead get to work through walking, cycling or using public transport.

The council is inviting bids under its sustainable travel plan, which envisages businesses working in partnership with council officers to draw up a travel plan and highlight alternatives means to the car for staff and visitors to get there.

Among initiatives that the council says can be supported by the grants are the provision of shower and changing facilities, installation of cycle storage and purchase of pool bikes, as well as improvements to lighting and pedestrian crossings.

Councillor Adrian Knapper, Stoke-one-Trent City Council cabinet member for transport and planning, commented: “These grants will hopefully provide small and medium sized businesses with the opportunity to create a sustainable transport plan tailored to them.

“The onus though, is on them to come up with something that will provide their employees with alternatives to just driving into work on their own, by creating facilities and opportunities they might not be able to afford normally,” he added.

Councillor Mark Meredith, cabinet member for economic development, said: “We’re keen for businesses to come forward straight away and start applying. It’ll mean that they can get things moving straight away and we can start helping them as soon as possible”

He continued: “By alleviating the financial burden that can come with doing this independently, we hope businesses will be able to focus their finances in creating new jobs, and also encouraging others to come here and make Stoke-on-Trent a great working city.”

Further information plus an application form can be obtained by telephoning 01782 234964.

Stoke-on-Trent was formerly one of Cycling England's cycling demonstration towns and earlier this year the city council told road.cc it remained committed to promoting cycling despite the abolition of that body by the Coalition Government.

Wider efforts to promote cycling include the city has hosted a round in all three editions of the Halfords Tour Series, while a stage of the Tour of Britain, as well as a Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride, have started and finished there each year since 2009.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.