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BCP Conservatives to look ‘carefully’ at active travel schemes

The new Conservative administration running BCP Council will look “very carefully” at the conurbation’s controversial active travel schemes.

Under the previous Unity Alliance leadership, the local authority introduced a number of changes across roads in Bournemouth and Poole this summer.

This was using money from the government’s Emergency Active Travel Funding and included the construction of protected cycles and blocking routes to through motorists traffic.

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While some of the schemes have proved popular and well-used, the Unity Alliance U-turned on several of the projects, such as closing stretches of the overcliff off to cars as a direct route.

Councillor Mike Greene, who was named portfolio holder for transport and sustainability this week by new BCP Council leader Drew Mellor, said the Tory administration would spend the next couple of weeks examining the situation.

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He said: “We are going to be looking very carefully at the schemes that are in place, the schemes that have been postponed and potentially schemes that might be in tranche two. We are going to go through them and make sure that everyone is listened to before we make decisions. That doesn’t mean that there are not one or two where the information is likely to be available already as to whether they are blinding successes or hideous failures.”

The way the schemes had been introduced, along with the measures pursued by the previous administration, had been an issue for Cllr Greene. He said the council had the opportunity to consult before implementation, but chose not to.

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“The government was quite clear, they did not say, as we have been told by the previous administration, you cannot consult until these are in place,” said Cllr Greene. “They said it is because of the speed at which we are giving you the opportunity to put these in, if you don’t want to consult or there is no time, you don’t have to. Just because there was an opportunity not to consult, doesn’t mean it was right not to consult. What that has meant is that certain groups have been listened to and other groups haven’t been listened to. To me the idea of active consultation has merit provided you have also done the pre-consultation, or whatever pre-consultation was available. In this case pre-consultation was available but the previous administration chose not to undertake it.”

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Councillor Greene said the Tory group had a clear message to residents on active travel schemes.

“We will not ignore you as you have been ignored in the past,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we will always agree with you and disagree with people who feel differently, but it does mean we will definitely and consciously listen to what you have to say.”

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He added: “It is quite clear the government has informed us on their direction a travel, no pun intended, and that has to be taken into full consideration as we decided to go forward. There is no doubt that BCP suffers from congestion and that is not good for the economic prosperity of the conurbation, so we will be looking at ways that we can improve that but we will do it in a fair and equable way, which hasn’t been employed to date.”

 

Article originally appeared on Bournemouth  Daily echo

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