Reigate’s cycle scheme scrapped – Press release

The Green Party’s press release on the Reigate high street cycle lane:

It is widely known that Surrey County Council’s current highways contract will be coming to an end in 2022, but the fact that the process to appoint a new supplier starts this week has come as a surprise to councillors. A webinar is planned with interested parties on 08 July, with an article in the construction industry press confirming that contractors have been alerted to plans for a maintenance framework contract of up to 21 years, worth £800m. (See https://www.constructionenquirer.com/2020/06/23/highways-firms-on-notice-for-800m-surrey-deal/ for details made public).

At today’s Council meeting, Jonathan Essex, Councillor for the Green Party (Redhill East) submitted a question asking for further information on the progress of the new maintenance contract.
Jonathan said, “It is unacceptable that the Council is looking at the possibility of locking us into such a lengthy agreement without consulting with councillors. We must be able to scrutinise the terms of any possible contract, including the potential for local aspects to be delivered locally, such as tree maintenance and basic pothole repairs.”

Cycle Planner needed – now
Jonathan Essex also called on the council to enquire whether the council would now employ a Cycle Planner, given that it only managed to secure half the funding it bid for from central government for emergency walking and cycling schemes.
Jonathan commented, “This indicates to me that the earlier bid was either out-of-scope or inadequate. The council must have the right skills in-house to deliver on actions to tackle the climate emergency here in Surrey. This should include a Cycle Planner with the expertise required to draft future submissions, develop best-in-class plans and implement them across the county.”
 
This need for in-house expertise was highlighted by the recent two-day ‘trial’ of a cycle route through Reigate High Street, which was criticised in a joint letter led by Cycle Redhill & Reigate. Speaking to local cyclists and the pedestrian forum in Redhill, Jonathan found that residents had proposed cycle routes across the borough area of Reigate & Banstead, but for Reigate itself suggested it would be safer to cycle to the town centre rather than through it. Cyclists instead favoured a widening of pavements for social distancing in the town. (For details see http://redhillgreens.org.uk/2020/06/green-councillor-makes-emergency-cycling-and-walking-investment-proposals/).

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