Old Shoreham Road decision costs council much-needed funding
The government has today confirmed that Brighton & Hove City Council will have funding docked as a result of a vote by opposition councillors seeking to remove the temporary Old Shoreham Road cycle lane.
Correspondence from government confirms that Brighton & Hove has been awarded 25% less than originally earmarked to receive as part of the ‘Capability fund,’ due to the outcome of the Old Shoreham Road scheme.
The Department for Transport had originally requested more information on why the scheme – supported by Conservative government ‘Gear Change’ policy on improving access to walking and cycling – was pulled out, despite consultation.
The Capability Fund does not directly fund the Old Shoreham Road, but is designed to support staffing, resources and training that help to develop behaviour change initiatives related to walking and cycling.
The letter from government also states that future funding will be subject to evidence of delivery, and advises the council on how to strengthen proposals for future active travel funding rounds, commenting on the need for project outcomes to “realise their full potential.”
Cllr Amy Heley commented:
“We are of course pleased that the government continues to provide funding for our active travel projects, in recognition of the dedicated efforts we’re making with council officials to improve accessible walking and cycling options in our city.
“However it’s disappointing to see confirmation of our concerns that the committee decision to remove the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane will detrimentally affect council finances. The Department for Transport was committed to awarding Brighton & Hove funding as part of the ‘Capability Fund,’ but has now cut the amount they will offer in response to the Old Shoreham Road removal. It’s clear that the government have looked unfavourably on this decision and used this when considering whether to provide the council with other, separate funds.
“This is significant at a time when budgets are being squeezed more than ever, and when councils are fighting hard to secure funding from central government, and to create jobs and training.
“We will continue to make clear our ambition to improve walking and cycling infrastructure for all of our residents, particularly in areas that serve local schools, and encourage government officials to reconsider. We urge other committee members to work with us to achieve this goal and secure the funding our city and residents deserve.”