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Anger at £1 million funding loss for cross-Carlisle cycle path

Nearly £1 million of lottery funding for a cross-city cyclepath in Carlisle has been lost with the organisation behind the scheme blaming the local council.

Related: Carlisle councillor offers to pay for city cycle survey from his savings

Any lingering hopes that the Connect2 project might be saved have been dashed in a letter to the city council from the sustainable-transport charity Sustrans.

It would have created a route from Kingmoor to Currock, linking with other cycleways to provide a traffic-free network for cyclists and pedestrians.

The council signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Sustrans and following that Sustrans set a February deadline for the council to complete survey work. This has not been met.

The letter, from Sustrans’ project manager Tim Temple, says: “Carlisle City Council has failed to provide Sustrans with the necessary demonstration of progress. Sustrans therefore concludes that it appears Carlisle City Council is unable to deliver its Connect2 scheme and we have asked the Big Lottery for agreement to withdraw the offer of funding of £975,000.”

The letter adds that Sustrans has been “reasonable” in allowing the council more time and agreeing to the dropping of a proposed cycle bridge over the River Eden to cut costs.

Connect2 is made up of 79 projects across the country and was chosen to get £50m of lottery money following a public vote in 2007.

All the projects have to be completed by March 2013. The money set aside for Carlisle will now go elsewhere.

One part of the scheme, an underpass under Castle Way to link the Caldew and Hadrian’s cycleways, may still go ahead with funding from Sainsbury’s.

But a replacement for the footbridge between Maryport Court and Lund Crescent, crossing the Carlisle-Barrow railway, appears doomed.

Angry cyclists will protest outside the Civic Centre when councillors meet tonight.

The campaign group Cycle Carlisle has issued a statement condemning the city council.

It says: “We are incredibly angry that the council has lost nearly £1m of lottery money that the people of Carlisle voted for to come to our city. The council have just thrown it away.

“What does it say about what they care about the population they are serving?”

However, Councillor Ray Bloxham, the executive member responsible, denies the authority is at fault.

He said: “I’ve been asking for three weeks for a meeting with Sustrans and the county council to get some agreement as how we go forward.

“I have to say that hasn’t been forthcoming from Sustrans.

“We are still trying to find a way through this. It would be a great pity if this money were lost.”

Have your say

Can we stop calling it road tax?

That's where all these problems start from. The moment it was mentioned to as Road Tax was the moment that all motorists decided that they owned the roads.

Look up road tax, see what it actually is, it is more to do with the vehicle than it is the road. Motorists have no more right over the roads than the cyclist or the pedestrian.

Posted by Brian on 7 March 2011 at 18:56

Unbelievable - I've just read this article and... well we all feel the same about this one. Who's accountable? I really cannot believe this. I work for the county and it frustrates me no end that there's members and workers that have no sense of urgency. Put me, or most other people, in this team and we'd work night and day to secure the funding.

Posted by One more angry citizen on 3 March 2011 at 22:26

View all 20 comments on this article

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