Plans to extend cycle lanes towards Crossens and towards Ainsdale have been put on hold. At the start of the Covid pandemic, Sefton Council introduced cycle lanes in Southport town centre, on roads including Queens Road, Hoghton Street and Talbot Street, while a ban on cycling on Chapel Street was overturned.
Under phase two of the scheme, the council carried out consultation last year on proposals to extend the cycle lanes from the town centre past Hesketh Park, through Churchtown and up to crossens in one direction; and up through Birkdale and Hillside and towards Ainsdale in the other direction.
Thousands of people responded. And while respondents broadly supported a desire to make travel more environmentally friendly, the majority objected to all of the individual Active Travel proposals put forward by the council.
Following the extended consultation process, Sefton Council has now put its current Active Travel proposals for Southport on hold, so that it can consider alternative options, including ideas put forward by the community.
Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: “As was the case with many councils in the early days of COVID-19, the Government told Sefton Council to put active travel schemes in place without consultation.
“We had little time and no Department for Transport criteria on which to judge their performance.
“Now that we have had an opportunity to carry out our robust consultation process, it is clear that local residents and businesses support the need to do more for the environment and that doing nothing is not an option, but some concerns have been expressed about some aspects of the proposals
“It makes sense therefore to put the plans on hold while we consider options and alternative ideas.”
Cllr Fairclough continued: “Sefton Council’s Climate Change Emergency declaration has received cross-party backing with councillors across the board agreeing that more needs to be done to progress this vital work.
“We remain committed to initiatives that will combat climate change and improve the health and wellbeing of communities across the Borough, including the way in which people travel.
“There is clear backing for work on further proposals for more green and active schemes that will tackle the strain and pressures our environment is facing and I look forward to seeing those plans developed after proper consideration.”
In November 2021, 30 Sefton businesses pledged publicly to reduce their carbon outputs following their attendance at InvestSefton’s net zero workshop and we are working with businesses owners to help them understand how they could play a role in tackling the climate emergency.
The decision to postpone any proposals remains subject to a ‘call-in’ period prior to approval.