Plans for half a dozen new cycling lanes and other active travel schemes in Reading have been dealt a blow.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has confirmed it has been allocated less than 75 per cent of the funding it bid for, which is for walking and cycling schemes to help with social distancing.

It has received £221,250 from the Department for Transport (DfT) in the first round of funding, after bidding for £300,000 from the coronavirus-focused active travel funds pot.

Green Party councillor Rob White said: “It is a shame that the council didn’t get all of the money that it bid for.

“Greens think that the council needs to be more ambitious for cycling in Reading and it needs to listen to the cycling community about what will work.”

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After receiving an indicative funding allocation from the government of £275,000, the council submitted its plan on June 5, bidding for £300,000 for eight schemes.

Some councils, such as Brighton and Hove and York, have received more than they bid for, while others, like Reading, have received less, based on the extent to which they aligned with DfT criteria.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “Whilst we are naturally disappointed not to have received the full amount, until all bid results have been made public it is difficult to understand exactly the criteria that have been used to decide the bids.

“As a result of this lack of clarity we are urgently seeking feedback from the Department for Transport.

“The council fully intends to bid again in tranche two and is hopeful of recouping the difference once we have a clearer picture of the criteria being used by the DfT.”

The government indicated previously the council could receive £1.2m in the second larger round of funding.

The eight temporary schemes, which could later become permanent that were bid for and still set to go ahead are:

  • Gosbrook Road and Westfield Road
  • Sidmouth Street
  • Reading Bridge (Complete)
  • Oxford Road
  • Whitley Street Local Centre
  • Southampton Street/Silver Street
  • Redlands Road
  • London Road

Read here for more info on the first seven schemes and here for the details of the London Road scheme .

Reading Bridge was the first of the planned schemes to be introduced, on June 12 but residents have called the new lanes are “dangerous” and “useless”.

First scheme built but works taking place

Reading Bridge has been closed to motor vehicles by gas company SGN on Monday (June 29) for up to six weeks to replace two gas mains, but is still open to cyclists and pedestrians.

The council said any road markings affected by the works, including the new cycle lanes recently introduced, will be fully reinstated by SGN.

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Schemes at Gosbrook Road and Sidmouth Street have been delayed slightly due to a national shortage of the safety equipment which creates a physical barrier between cyclists and traffic.

Cllr Page said: “We are doing everything we can to source this equipment and we know other councils are in a similar position due to the amount of new cycle schemes being introduced  across the country.”