A local council that applied for funding to make their roads cycling friendly has received a huge grant but they have been met with protests from residents and business owners over the plans.
In 2013 Enfield Council submitted a bid to the Greater London Authority, requesting a portion of a £100 million ‘Mini Holland’ fund which would pay for cycling infrastructure.
The cyclists in the area where thrilled when the council was one of eight to be selected – receiving £30 million to help them transform their borough.
Enfield beat 12 boroughs who didn’t make the cut, and set about trying to transform the area from one where less than 1 per cent of people cycle to work, to a cycling haven.
Image: Cycle Enfield Training Day
Cycle Enfield are in charge of distributing the funds. They’ve organised bike loans, Sunday bike rides, and maintenance classes which have been enjoyed by a wide range of people.
Unfortunately their plans to transform congested roads have not been well received. As part of the plans, some on street parking will be transformed into cycle lanes, which will run through the town as well as linking to more scenic paths.
‘Save our Green Lanes’ are campaigning against the changes – even offering online PDF posters that can be printed out and pinned in shop windows.
According to Guardian journalist, cyclist and local resident Nick Mead: “From cafes to hairdressers, furniture stores to funeral parlours – and, strangely, even one shop selling bike parts – almost every non-chain business along the high streets of Winchmore Hill and Palmers Green is protesting against the scheme.”
The protesters claim that reducing on-street parking will have a dramatic effect on shop keepers who rely on customers being able to park nearby. This is of course a valid concern – but research has shown that cyclist spend on average more in town that drivers, and that most retailers overestimate how many customers arrive by car.
Save our Green Lanes have made a selection of questionable statements around the plans – suggesting: “cyclists will have priority over all other roads users” and that the council is “all about cycle lanes” and the “£30 million road to nowhere”.
A public consultation on the plans will close on October 9 and people can give their opinions by filling out a survey here. Andrew Gilligan, Boris Johnson’s cycling commissioner has said that they are working on making the area a “nicer place to be” but if the people of Enfield don’t want the money, they will “take it away and give it to people who do want it.”