Roughly two years ago the Conservatives came up with an idea to look into the feasibility of building a new cycling and footbridge over the river between St Clements and Gheluvelt Park. The scheme will not be cheap – it is now estimated to cost £9 million. It’s turned into a bit of a political football – the Conservatives think it’s great but Labour are not at all keen. As the project has progressed the project has only survived because the Green Party have used our balance of power to support the project.
So with all the flak and naysayers why am I supporting this new bridge?
I am one of the founding members of the Bike Worcester group setup to support more cycling in the city. In my mind, lots of issues are linked. If we build low density new houses at the edge of cities without good public transport or adequate walking and cycling infrastructure we are building-in an increasing reliance on cars with all the congestion and poor air quality they bring. Alternatively we could tackle congestion by building higher density homes towards the centre of the city, invest in public transport and infrastructure that will encourage more active travel like walking and cycling. To me it’s simple – building bridges and connecting communities with active travel schemes is a good thing even if in this case it was not our idea!
It’s not a bad idea to have some very sceptical people in the room – we don’t want ‘groupthink’ to set in and we need to scrutinise and challenge decisions because this is public money. So thank you to the Labour Party too. I believe this is a good example of the Conservatives, Labour and Green Party all working together and most importantly properly scrutinising it’s important decisions.
If you like my blogs on what is happening on the council please consider following my councillor Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CllrLouisStephen/