CONTENTIOUS plans for a new ‘Dutch-style’ cycleway in Coventry are in gear following a councillor’s approval.
Cabinet member for city services Coun Pat Hetherton has allowed council plans for the Coundon route to progress.
Opponents of the scheme say consultation with residents has been rushed through, and businesses in Barker’s Butts Lane could suffer from parking changes.
Running from Norman Place Road into the city centre, the ‘separated cycle route’ would use raised crossings at junctions to give priority to cyclists.
Approving the proposals at a meeting this week (September 7), Coun Hetherton said: “This is something that has been in planning for a long time. While we have been looking at air quality issues, and also since the pandemic hit, it has been about people.
“For the first time we are seeing many more families out on bicycles. We are seeing a change as people don’t want to go on public transport with anxiety about coronavirus.
“If we provide them with a safe passage to travel it will be really good. The benefits really outweigh some of the negatives which have been mentioned.
“We need to make this really good for cyclists – you go to university towns and see so many cyclists around. It’s wonderful, and it’s important we give Coventry that opportunity.”
“I am in favour as I think the dialogue will continue. We have reacted to any negatives people have and there have been changes along the way. It is an opportunity to show how our city can do this.”
Conservative opposition councillor Mattie Heaven also spoke in support, she said: “We can embrace this new chance in Coventry, its fantastic. Cycling routes are a way forward – the petition against it was at one point about closing the roads. After consultation it shows it is the right way forward, on the whole it is fantastic for the city.
Independent councillor Glenn Williams, who has been a vocal opponent of the scheme, said: “Our petition is not anti-cyclists. I see a lot of merit in having a cycleway here.
“But the consultation we believe has been rushed, and it has empowered some very militant people to force an anti-car agenda on my people. This has disenfranchised a number of residents who will be affected.
“We need everyone to come together and find a solution that works. I gather there will be further engagement, and there are some very good amendments. Particularly the grass verges on Hollyfast Road which originally would have been obliterated. The pavements on Hollyfast Road have needed doing for a long time, I know it comes from a separate budget but let’s see if we can fix those.
“My main concern is Westhill Road, as there are residents there who are faced with losing their gardens or not being able to park. If they are losing the greenery in their front gardens, that is something they cherish.
“If there is a commitment to further engagement with residents on Westhill Road, that is something I can get behind.”