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Phase one of walking and cycling fund announced for Lewes District

Photo of Councillor Matthew Bird

A plan for the rapid implementation of infrastructure improvements for walkers and cyclists has been given a guarded welcome by Lewes District Council.

The government emergency active travel fund was announced in May in response to the increase in people walking and cycling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Phase one of the scheme will see East Sussex local authorities sharing a pot of £479K that, subject to government approval, will fund a number of enhancements in Lewes district.

Councillor Matthew Bird, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said: "I welcome any improvements for walkers and cyclists in Lewes district, but I would like to have seen more of the suggestions we made to East Sussex County Council included in phase one.

"The fund increases to £1.9m in phase two later this year and I hope the bigger and more significant schemes that we recommended are supported. We will continue to consult and engage with local town councils, local traders, cycling and walking groups and are setting up a Walking and Cycling Forum to carry this on into the future."

The proposed phase one initiatives in Lewes district include social distancing signage in shopping areas, the installation of cycle racks in Lewes town centre, the widening of pedestrian areas and more use of segregated cycleways.

Councillor Bird added: "Safer walking and cycling routes, more electric bicycles and more sustainable transport solutions that greatly reduce levels of local pollution need to be encouraged to stop our towns becoming more congested and less attractive places to live and work.

"The upward trend in walking and cycling has been evident for some time but has rocketed since the lockdown was announced. We have to capture this momentum and make sure it is maintained."