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Cycle lane plans dropped by council as it would have “killed off shops”

Businesses, after weeks of protest, said they were "thrilled" that the proposed cycle path and floating bus stop in Paisley was scrapped...

Plans for a cycle lane and a floating bus stop have been scrapped by the council after businesses in the Paisley town centre staged a sustained protest, warning of a “catastrophic” effect to livelihoods if the cycling infrastructure was allowed to be built.

The proposals in Paisley were mainly focused for the Causeyside Street and supposed to include a two-way protected cycle route between Canal Street and Gilmour Street train stations, linking to National Cycle Route 7, with floating bus stops, along with resurfacing footways and junction alterations to increase safety while walking.

These schemes, which according to the Renfrewshire Council underwent thorough engagement, have been stonewalled indefinitely after sustained pressure by a business consortium called Paisley First, along with Paisley West and Central Community Council.

These groups had accused the council’s engagement procedure as flawed and that it failed to follow regulatory guidelines and advices.

The chair of Paisley First said: “Given there is no evidence of demand for cycling, specifically between the two railway stations, as well as the project team’s admission that Sustrans is aware of the project, but not directly involved, we maintain our firm belief that this project cannot and must not be allowed to proceed.”

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One of the shop-owners from Causeyside Street said that they “will do whatever it takes to keep fighting these proposals”, while another claimed that “no evidence of any economic benefit to the local community” had been provided by the council.

Another business feared that the changes will discourage people from visiting Paisley altogether, adding: “This is not about being against cyclists, it's about making sure Causeyside Street is safe for everyone. I do wonder if the planners and councillors realise or actually care about the devastating effect this will have on the businesses that attract people to the area.”

Following the resistance, Glasgow Times reports that the council has been forced to back down on its decision. The chair of Paisley First reaced saying: “We are thrilled that common sense has prevailed and Renfrewshire Council will no longer be proceeding with a segregated cycle route along Causeyside Street.”

Councillor Kenny MacLaren, SNP rep for Paisley Northwest, said that he’s attended a number of meetings about this proposal and hadn’t heard “one person speak positively about it”, while Councillor Will Mylet, SNP rep for Paisley East and Central, said that it was the “right decision”.

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A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “The Causeyside Street regeneration proposals are designed to enhance walking, cycling and public transport connections for residents, businesses and visitors on Causeyside Street, as well as improve parking and traffic flow.

“As part of our extensive engagement process, we have been liaising with the community, elected members and businesses throughout to ensure the plans would work for the town centre and after listening to their feedback, we are proposing not to take forward the current planned cycle lane at this time.

“We will be continuing our engagement on Causeyside Street, in particular the junction with Gordon Street, as part of future plans to improve traffic flow in the area and the local community will be involved as always in future planning.”

Adwitiya joined in 2023 after finishing his masters in Journalism from Cardiff University, with a dissertation focusing on active travel. He's currently living in Cardiff and for the most part moans about the abruptly ending cycle lanes, if he's not cursing the headwind. Adwitiya also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes dabbles in topics related to science, tech and the environment. Cycling became a part of his life just a couple of years ago, and now he can't think of a single reason why anyone would drive if they could cycle. He usually uses his bike for commuting, but he also loves excursions on the Taff trail, however never underestimate his ability to find an excuse to watch something on GCN instead.

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