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‘A complete waste of time’ – reaction to cycle lanes as Crawley Council claim to have been ignored over its decision

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New temporary cycle lanes that have been setup across Three Bridges and into Manor Royal have been slammed as a ‘complete waste of time, money and resources’ by residents and commuters.

The wide cycle lanes have restricted the width of the roads, but were supposed to still be wide enough to allow the free flowing of traffic in both directions.

But both video and photos evidence show the exact opposite has been happening.

A video below shows a journey through one section where light traffic still causes the driver to almost have to come to a standstill before being able to continue.

On another occasion, a photo caught the moment a bus almost hit a passing car had it not let it through at the last moment.

One resident said:

“What is the point of this, to get me cycling? But it just ends abruptly so what’s the point?”

While another commented:

“So now we have potholes left to cope with and even more holes drilled in the road. So when they take it away the roads will be in an even worst state. Clever people these politicians aren’t they!”

Cn24 took a 30 minute survey to see how many cyclists were using the lanes and in that time during a morning rush hour only 5 cyclists were seen.

But West Sussex Council jumped to its defense saying that construction was still ongoing and the design should allow for a 6 metre wide carriageway.

In their statement a West Sussex County Council spokesperson said:

“Adjustments will be considered both during construction of the trial, Government-funded pop-up cycleways, and after they have been installed.

“Construction is ongoing and when the new centreline is laid it will be easier for vehicles to keep within their own lane. The current design allows for a 6m wide carriageway with 3m running lanes in each direction, which should be sufficient width.

CN24 pointed out the video and photos capturing the problems experienced by drivers to West Sussex who responded with:

“Highways officers will look at this particular section you have highlighted to see if adjustments are required.”

The whole situation has left many residents angry with even one councillor taking to write a damning article albeit targeting the wrong council for the blame.

Crawley Councillor Duncan Crow has claimed that it was the ‘overzealous’ Crawley Council who are to blame for the lanes but Crawley Council Leader

Peter Lamb has defiantly rejected this saying on a social media response to the claims:

“To be clear, the design for this was nothing to do with CBC. Indeed, we submitted concerns outlining the safety risks of the proposals at both the draft and final design stage, but were ignored.”

This is in stark contrast to an additional statement West Sussex sent after pushed as to who was consulted prior to the go ahead and what the reaction to the idea was.

West Sussex County Council responded with:

“The cycleway is still under construction, not yet open, so cannot be fairly assessed.

The seven pop-up cycleways for West Sussex – funded by the Government – will create safe space for active travel and encourage people to cycle rather than use the car. They are an emergency response to increase travel options as part of the Government-led recovery plan from COVID-19.

As an emergency response, the Government required the seven trial schemes to be planned and installed within three months. Given the timeframe, we consulted key partners including district and borough councils, emergency services and bus operators. Normally schemes of this nature would take years to develop and be subject to various stages of public consultation that might last two or more months and involve exhibitions, etc. This was not possible given the timescale limitations required.

The cycleway routes are the result of collaborative work with the district and borough councils. Once fully installed and open, we will be encouraging would-be cyclists to experience the cycleways for themselves. This will be the chance for people to show how much they want the cycleway to stay.

The schemes will be closely monitored to see how well used they are and any positive or negative impacts on congestion, safety and air quality. Adjustments will be considered and, if any of them do not work, they may be removed.

One last concern came from this very statement. It was the very final line which made the point clear. If any of the lanes do not work – it does not mean they will be removed. The head bashing between the Borough and County Council looks set to continue for some time yet as residents get more riled up and commuters sit in further delays.

Business

‘It’s not nearly enough funding’ warns Crawley Council as business grant applications open

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Eligible businesses can now apply for the latest round of business grants but Crawley Borough Council says the funding is not nearly enough.

Despite Crawley being responsible for 25 per cent of the economic output in West Sussex, it has been given some of the lowest grant funding in the county.

The government has given the council £3,733,396 made up of:

  • £1,485,216 in Local Restrictions Support Grant to distribute to businesses that pay business rates and have had to close during the second lockdown
  • £2,248,180 in Additional Restrictions Grant, which is given to businesses that don’t pay business rates and have been affected by the lockdown but not legally required to close.

Out of seven local authorities in West Sussex, only one received less than Crawley’s combined grants figure. Five councils received more.

The Additional Restrictions Grant is based on £20 per person in Crawley rather than the number of businesses in the town. This means that Arun District Council, for example, has received £3,215,160 due to a larger population but smaller economy.

And only one council in West Sussex received less than Crawley across both rounds of grant funding in April and November. Crawley received a total of £17,167,646. The highest – Chichester District Council – received £43,739,396.

In the first round of grants earlier this year only 23 per cent of Crawley businesses received financial help from the government.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“The pot of grant funding provided by the government is very limited and does not recognise the number of businesses we have in Crawley.

“The way the grant settlement is calculated – on population and not on the size of the economy – means we have to turn most businesses away, while other councils have millions to spare. This is causing major hardship at a time when Crawley is already the hardest-hit economy in the UK.”

Businesses that have had to close during the second lockdown can apply for a Local Restrictions Support Grant by visiting https://grantapproval.co.uk

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