Council accused of cycle lane ‘splurge’

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Lib Dem councillors have accused Sheffield Council’s ruling Labour group of a £600,000 ‘splurge’ on cycling routes – when the budget for highways schemes has been cut.

The opposition party says £572,406 is being spent on three cycle route projects this financial year – but at the same time the budget for local highway schemes has been slashed by almost £500,000.

Lib Dems say the move has led to a number of projects supported by local people being abandoned, including a new pedestrian crossing at Fulwood Road and Crookes Road junction in Broomhill.

Cycle lane schemes approved include:

- Penistone Road cycle track, costing £200,000

- A Halfway to Killamarsh Connect2 route, which is receiving £355,000 from Sheffield Council towards a total cost of £1.3 million

- A cycleway along Meadowhead, Bochum Parkway and Dykes Lane, costing £17,406.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Lib Dem group leader and Broomhill councillor, said: “This cycle lane spending splurge at the expense of valuable local highways schemes shows Labour have got their priorities wrong.

“Many important schemes have been abandoned, including vital road safety work right across Sheffield that has been campaigned for by local people for many years. While it’s true to say there is less investment about – thanks to the financial mess Labour helped create nationally – there are resources available as this new £700,000 for cycle lanes demonstrates.”

Labour replied that a cut of £488,000 has been made to Community Assemblies’ highways budgets to ensure they take a ‘fair share’ of the 50 per cent transport funding cut from Government.

A spokeswoman for the ruling group said the Fulwood Road and Crookes Road scheme was never due to be funded by the area’s Community Assembly but from the council’s main transport budget – and was removed from the list when the Lib Dems were still in power.

She added half the funding for the Penistone Road cycle track is coming from Government – and that the council has already reduced the amount allocated to Halfway-Killamarsh by £120,000 from £475,000 proposed while the Lib Dems were in power.

Labour added it has found £441,000 of extra cash to spend on road schemes by reducing the cost of other projects – such as in Woodseats, where £80,000 is being saved by covering bus priority traffic lights with bags rather than ripping them out.