Claims not enough is being spent to improve cycling routes after £150,000 spent to bring bike race to Warwickshire - The Leamington Observer

Claims not enough is being spent to improve cycling routes after £150,000 spent to bring bike race to Warwickshire

Laura Kearns 25th Apr, 2019   0

NOT enough is being spent to improve Warwickshire’s cycling routes claims a councillor after £150,000 was spent to bring a high profile cycle race to the county.

Warwickshire County County recently announced the OVO Energy Women’s Tour would return for a fourth successive year this summer.

The 159-kilometre stage four will start in Warwick, and will take in Kenilworth, Meriden, Bedworth and Wellesbourne before riders gear up for the finishing line at Burton Dassett on Thursday June 13.

But Green Party county councillor Jonathan Chilvers says the authority should be spending money on improving cycling infrastructure to encourage more Warwickshire residents to get on a bike.

He told the Observer: “The leader of the council (Izzi Seccombe) says she want to ‘raise awareness’ of cycling in Warwickshire through the women’s tour, but she has still not been ring fenced money to build even the highest priority routes in the county.

“You can raise awareness all you like, but people will only cycle more when they feel safe to do so. Having the tour come but not build cycle routes is like having the icing without the cake.

“The best way to celebrate the world’s leading cyclists coming to Warwickshire is to commit the cash for new routes.”

But the council maintains it is committed to improving cycling routes in a bid to boost road and cycle safety, and also improve air quality.

While no specific amount has been allocated in this year’s budget, council chiefs say an ‘additional allocation’ of capital funding’ will support the creation of more bike routes.

It also argues hosting the tour – which attracted 100,000 spectators to the county last year – provides a major boost to Warwickshire’s economy.

A spokesman said: “The 2018 women’s tour represented a significant boost and showed a gross expenditure from spectators on the day of £3.4million.

“In hosting a stage of the tour the council has the opportunity to reduce its own costs through sponsorship and partnering arrangements. This provides the opportunity to minimise the direct costs of hosting a stage while maximising the economic impact to Warwickshire.

“The county council is investing in cycling infrastructure in our towns to enable people who are inspired by tour events to use their bikes to make local journeys with confidence and in safety.”

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