The deadline for the Cycling England competition to find the country's first Cycling Demonstration City and 10 more new Cycling Demonstration Towns is today, 31 March. In total, £47m is available for funding the new demonstration areas - part of the £110m funding for cycling announced by UK Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly in January.
Over 60 local authorities have expressed an interest in becoming new Demonstration Towns. The 10 new towns and the new city will join the existing six Cycling Demonstration Towns (Aylesbury, Brighton & Hove, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster with Morecambe).
Cycling England press agents confirmed to BikeRadar that the winning city will be announced in early June, along with at least five or six of the ten new Towns who will begin their programmes in September 2008. The next four or five towns will be announced in autumn 2008. The money will be allocated on the basis of the proposals in the winning bids and will be spread over several years.
The original Demonstration Towns were awarded their status in 2005 and have since shared £2.8m a year to showcase best practice in promoting cycling for other areas to learn from. Extra government cash has also since been awarded to Derby, Exeter, Brighton and Lancaster with Morecambe.
The main achievements and plans for the future of existing CDTs include:
- Aylesbury – Provision of cyclepaths around the inner ring road. Planned £5m cycle and pedestrian bridge over the railway to the town centre. Planned signs showing cycling times to signed destinations.
- Brighton & Hove – Achieved the biggest ever personal travel planning project to be carried out in the UK, contacting over 10,000 residents individually. Plans to complete Regional Route 82 between Brighton and Hangleton.
- Darlington – A traffic-free city centre is at the heart of all Darlington’s plans. Future projects include widespread lighting and providing benches along existing cycle paths.
- Derby – A 26 mile cycle ringway around the city has been completed. Plans to train every 6 year old to the appropriate Bikeability Standard.
- Exeter – The Exe Estuary Cycle Route is at the heart of their plans. Exeter wants 20% of all school children to be cycling to school by 2009.
- Lancaster with Morecambe – 60,000 households were sent a free local cycling guide. There is an ongoing programme of resurfacing the Lancaster Canal towpath to a high standard.
Do you live in an existing Cycling Demonstration Town? Noticed any improvement since 2005?
Cycling England’s criteria will include looking for an existing commitment to cycling, quality staff in the area of cycling and good links to enthusiastic partners.
Match funding will need to be identified by the winning bidders who will also need to demonstrate that their town has the sufficient potential to overcome existing barriers to cycling and has a clear strategy on achieving this.
Slightly ominously, Cycling England’s website also says applicants must show where future cycle funding might come from once their potential new funding ends.