Cyclists are demanding Sheffield Council chiefs spend £160,000 of savings on a safe bike route instead of art.
Today the city council’s cabinet will discuss an allocation of funding for the Grey to Green scheme - a multi-million pound initiative to plant wildflowers, bulbs, plants and grasses along West Bar to Castlegate and narrow the road from four lanes to two.
It aims to reinvigorate the area after Castle Market closed, as well as the link between the Riverside Business District and city centre.
Documents before cabinet say including public art was originally planned but put on hold due to ‘funding pressures.’ Now enough money has been saved through a ‘competitive tender’ process so that the art can be paid for.
But members of campaign group Cycle Sheffield say they were told there was no money for a dedicated bike path, and cyclists want the underspend to be used for that.
Matt Turner, chairman, said: “Lots of people have got in touch with councillor to say that they think the priorities are wrong. We don’t think this is a good use of the money.”
Under the scheme, cyclists will ride on the road or a shared path with pedestrians. Sheffield Council said public art had always been a ‘key part of this scheme and successful funding bids’ and to add cycle lanes would delay the project, causing funding to be lost. The scheme already includes traffic calming and shared routes for walkers or cyclists while there was an alternative biking route on the riverside.
A spokesman added: “We want to improve the quality and appearance of public spaces in this area to attract jobs and investment. The decision not to include cycle lanes is not related to budget issues but best use of space.”