Town's cyclists get £4m boost

COLCHESTER is set to become more bike-friendly after it was named as just one of 10 places nationwide which are set to become “Cycling Towns”.

James Hore

COLCHESTER is set to become more bike-friendly after it was named as just one of 10 places nationwide which are set to become “Cycling Towns”.

Among the changes promised are better crossing facilities to enable cyclists to overcome major obstacles such as busy roads, rivers and railway lines.

The money will be also be used to promote cycling proficiency and improve access in and around the town centre, with particular attention on the improving access to and from the two railway stations.


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It will help with Colchester's bid to have a car free town centre within the next 12 years.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly announced £2.1 million of investment which Essex County Council will “match fund”, meaning £4.2 million will be spent in the next three years.

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The council hopes the initiative will lead to a 75% increase in cycling in the town.

Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick visited Colchester North Station yesterday morning to make the announcement.

He said it was a “great day” for Colchester, but said it was also important for businesses to provide changing and shower facilities to encourage more workers to leave the car at home.

He said: “In the past 10 years cycling is up by nearly 15% and death and serious injuries are down by 35% - more people are cycling now.

“It is the healthy way to get from 'A to B' and there is a really strong argument for people to be cycling - it is about beating congestion and helping people to become more healthy.”

He said there was no better feeling than riding past traffic in a jam, other than “scoring a goal”.

Norman Hume, the county councillor in charge of highways and transportation, said: “We have the won backing of the government and Cycling England for helping us to make cycling in Colchester the natural choice of travel for many more residents.

“We will take a lead in promoting cycling as a way of providing sustainable travel and healthier lifestyles.

Colchester Borough Council's deputy leader Martin Hunt, said: “We want to improve people's health, encourage residents and visitors to travel sustainably and safely for both work and leisure, manage congestion and to reduce the borough's carbon footprint.”

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