The potential impact of wider Government funding cuts on Leeds’s post Tour de France legacy ambitions should not be underestimated.
That is the warning from key figures putting together the Leeds ‘Cycling Starts Here’ (LCSH) strategy, a masterplan which lays out a five year vision to get people on their bikes.
A report presented to a Leeds City Council inquiry panel this week says: “Local levels of investment in the LCSH strategy will prove challenging in the current financial environment of local authority austerity and cut backs by central Government, and the impact of the austerity cuts on our cycling ambitions should not be underestimated.”
The city’s five year plan includes a dozen or so projects being developed to encourage people to get cycling, including the creation of a number of ‘cycle hubs’ and bike libraries; more mas participation events and better training a and safety.
Wide objectives include ensuring the highways network is ‘cycle proofed’ and connected, and facilities are provided through the planning process to ensure this.
The funding warning comes as the city’s much lauded cycle superhighway get ready to open in May.
The track is being built by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local councils as part of the £60m CityConnect programme funded through the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant. Phase One includes the Leeds-Bradford Superhighway, towpath upgrades and increased cycle parking.
Phase two will include 2.5km of cycle superhighway from Bradford Centre to Stanley Road and 7km of superhighway to the North and South of Leeds City Centre
The report to the City Development panel acknowledges that “significant investment has already taken place over the last six years around
cycling in the city”, particularly capital investment frommboth regional and national Government sources.