Cycling row deepens as Sheffield misses out on £214m cash pot

The Tour de France comes to Bradfield
The Tour de France comes to Bradfield
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A row over Sheffield Council’s commitment to cycling has moved up a gear - after the city missed out on new funding.

Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle were among the cities to benefit from the £214 million cash, £100m of which will go to the Highways Agency to improve conditions on major trunk roads.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the funding but in Sheffield, where he represents the Hallam constituency, there will be no cash.

The council did not apply to be a ‘cycling ambition city’ last year so could not access the grant but authority chiefs said they had not been given the ‘opportunity’ to apply.

Meanwhile a Green party motion before Sheffield councillors next Wednesday calls for ‘action not words’ on improving cycling.

It refers to a survey by cycling charity CTC which listed Sheffield as bottom of a league for councillors supporting its Space for Cycling campaign.

City councillors say that is ‘misleading’.

Cycling campaigner Matt Turner, of Hillsborough, said: “I think this motion is more important than ever now that a pot of cash for cycling has been announced and Sheffield received none.

“We didn’t get a penny which backs up comments that Sheffield is falling behind other cities.”

Cyclist Andrew Aziz added: “Sheffield needs big funding, it’s a dangerous commute into town from all sides of the city, and terrible that we get nothing.”

Sheffield was a host city for the Tour de France Grand Depart in July.

Mr Clegg said: “After the huge success of the Tour, there is a huge appetite from local people to take up cycling.

“The rewards of encouraging more people to cycle could be massive. In Government, we have put the money down and asked local authorities to jump on their bikes and get us to the finish line.

“Unfortunately local Labour councillors didn’t even enter Sheffield into the race.”

Sheffield Council has pointed out that it has its own cycling strategy, and conducted a cycling inquiry after the Tour.

It has the only inner-city mountain bike course at Parkwood Springs and recently installed free on-street bike pumps.

Applications to be a cycling ambition city must be from a city region and in South Yorkshire the region is unlike any other as it is not a single urban mass.

It was said to be ‘unworkable’ to put together a ‘cohesive bid’.

Coun Leigh Bramall said: “There was no opportunity for us to bid for this funding.

“We would have welcomed the opportunity to make improvements to our cycling network based on the extensive review we conducted into cycling but the Government has not given us this opportunity.”