WSCC axes showcase scheme in Shoreham

Cllr Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways, despite a 6-2 vote for him to reconsider at the Scrutiny Committee meeting of 18 November 2020, has stuck to his decision to remove the Shoreham 'pop up' scheme that was funded by Government money.  That means that all West Sussex has to show for the award of £781K is a few white lines and a bit of cutting back on the only scheme not be removed - Chichester/Bognor. That one can't be removed because it has been there for years and the work was maintenance that should be regularly done by WSCC!

The Shoreham scheme was featured in a DfT video extolling the virtues of cycling and cycle lanes.  

Here is the PR from Shoreham by Cycle.

Decision to axe showcase cycle scheme will endanger children, reduce choice, and turn back the clock on sustainabilityCllr Roger Elkins' decision to go against advice and insist on the removal of Upper Shoreham Road's cycle lanes goes in the face of all the evidence that was presented to a WSCC scrutiny committee last week.

The popular cycle lane was featured in a Department for Transport video highlighting the tremendous benefits of such projects. Even in its unfinished state, this DfT-funded scheme prompted a trebling of cycling numbers, with no delay to motor traffic, and a reduction in the numbers of children reliant on being driven to school - all evidenced in WSCC's own report. Yet despite a 6-2 vote from the scrutiny committee, asking Cllr Elkins to reconsider, he has decided to go against the sensible option of keeping our roads easier and safer for journeys by bike.Empty words about a future permanent schemeWest Sussex County Council's information on this second decision refers vaguely to future plans for a permanent alternative. Yet these words are effectively empty. There is no money with which to create this supposed permanent scheme. Tranche 2 of the Department for Transport's Active Travel Fund saw a huge cut in the amount hoped for by WSCC (one of the largest reductions of any local authority's funding bid) - an indication that the council's approach to cycling infrastructure is considered inadequate by central government. If a permanent scheme is to be built on Upper Shoreham Road, extra money will have to be found - and this will take time. At last week's scrutiny meeting, Shoreham councillor Kevin Boram proposed that this temporary scheme remain in place for further months while the possibility of a permanent solution is looked into. This would have retained the considerable benefits of the scheme, ensuring a continuity of the safer, easier cycling being experienced by so many.Schools, parents and children asked for the cycle lanes to stayWSCC created something good in Shoreham. Virtually every school in Shoreham co-signed a letter to Cllr Elkins, extolling the huge benefits of the project and pleading for its retention. WSCC's own report told them the pop-up cycle scheme was a huge success, with thousands of additional cycle journeys and no disruption to traffic. Ripping it out now - as we enter the darkest months of the year - will endanger children on their way to school, discourage use of bikes for short everyday journeys, and do away with the chance to gather more data on how routes like this are used.Flaws in WSCC's reportingA key flaw in the whole process is that the scheme hasn't even finished construction - contrary to WSCC's documentation. The council's report into the project stated a completion date of 25 September, though even in late November, a large, significant portion of the project has not been started and remains dangerously unprotected. We have queried why the report is incorrectly dated, but have not received a response. It may be relevant that tight deadlines had to be seen to be met in order to secure DfT funding.We need leadership at WSCCThere is a need for leadership at WSCC. Leadership that enables the council to make good on its own policies and strategies around transport, climate and environment - all of which are being let down and contradicted by Cllr Elkins' apparent lack of vision and compassion.


Shoreham-By-Cycle and West Sussex Cycle Forum