Matt Hodges, Lancaster and Lakes, Cycling UK member and our local, nationally recognised, ‘Right to Ride Representative has been in contact with Lancaster’s MP Cat Smith about the City Council’s plan to close the cycle path in order to build a flood defence wall alongside the River Lune from Skerton Bridge to the M6 Motorway. He pointed out that the wall could be constructed with access from the car parks and other hard standings of the various business premisses without closing the cycle path.
Matt emphasized, to the MP, the value of the route for commuting, leisure cycling and its use by family groups. He argued against the diversion onto the busy Caton Road and its unsuitability for use by ‘vulnerable users’ including children and family groups, the disabled etc. He pointed out, even experienced cyclists, would find the suggested Caton Road alternative daunting. Matt also questioned the funding of the scheme.
The main points of Cat Smith’s reply to Matt are :-
“While I understand your concerns about the project, I am pleased that the City Council has worked with a variety of partners and are taking firm action to prevent flooding like we saw in 2015”
“In terms of the funding, the Council have confirmed that they have secured £3.85 million from the European Union, assuming the contracts are signed within 2 days of the UK leaving the European Union. Local businesses have also pledged funding for the project.”
The news that the funding could be forthcoming makes the plan, passed at the Planning Committee meeting on 12th November 2018, more likely to happen. Cat says “the City Council has worked with a variety of partners” They certainly haven’t worked with the path users. We still await the promised meeting between the planners and cycling groups to consider their proposal for a safe and reasonable alternative to the cycle path whilst the work takes place.