Massive boost for cycling goes begging

IPSWICH lost out on the chance to benefit from a multi-million pound boost for cycling because the two authorities running services in the town could not agree to ask for the money, it emerged today.

Paul Geater

IPSWICH lost out on the chance to benefit from a multi-million pound boost for cycling because the two authorities running services in the town could not agree to ask for the money, it emerged today.

Ipswich Borough Council said it could not apply to be part of the government's £47million bid to boost cycling because such a move would have to come from the county which is the highway authority.

Meanwhile Suffolk County Council's highways spokesman said its officials were too busy working on a scheme for Lowestoft to prepare one for Ipswich as well - but they would have supported a borough bid.

The stand-off between the two Tory-led authorities came under fire today from Ipswich's Labour MP Chris Mole.

He said: “I really am appalled that this could not have been properly resolved between the two councils, however a lack of communication and/or a lack of resources means Ipswich may have missed out.”

Most Read

Letters from the transport spokesmen from both authorities spell out the lack of co-ordination in the town.

Paul West from the borough told Mr Mole: “Our wish to be part of the bid was communicated to the county council but they did not feel able to assist with the development and submission of such a bid.”

Mr West told the Star: “The county council is the highway authority and without its support there would have been no point in making such a bid. We were told all their efforts were being concentrated on Lowestoft.”

On the other side of Ipswich's Russell Road, county council spokesman Guy McGregor wrote to Mr Mole insisting that his authority would have been prepared to support a bid prepared by the borough.

He wrote: “Given that the county council was to bid for Lowestoft, Ipswich Borough Council officers were invited to prepare a bid for Ipswich which the county council would have supported.

“I do not know why the borough council chose not to do this.”

Mr McGregor told the Star: “We had given the borough time to propose a bid to us, but they took too long and we decided to work with Waveney at Lowestoft instead.”

Mr Mole said the spat showed the necessity to have a single council running all services in Ipswich.

“This is a ridiculous situation - and it has led to the borough missing out on the possibility of improving its facilities for cyclists which most people recognise is vital for the future of the town.

“If two authorities controlled by the same party can't get together to support a bid like this, what is the world coming to?”