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Road closures were put into place in some areas to build extra cycle lanes to encourage more people to ditch public transport at the height of the pandemic. Grant Shapps invited the councils to bid for £250million of extra emergency funds to help change local infrastructure to encourage cleaner forms of transport.
However, schemes were introduced with hardly any public consultation, which has seen many residents hit back against the policy.
Locals are concerned about the lack of space on the roads with some fearing the narrower routes could cause carnage when schools open in just a couple of weeks.
Councillor Paul Osborn, leader of Harrow Conservatives, warned the scheme has been met with “no real demand” from locals.
He said: “There’s no real demand from residents. Lots are, in fact, against the schemes.
“So they just end up being taken away anyway, and wasting a lot of money in the meantime.”
Sheffield City Council says a reduced traffic measure will be axed to return to a two-lane capacity while plans to change roads in Herefordshire have also been put on hold.
Last month, traffic restrictions in Gateshead were also scrapped after considerable backlash from drivers.
An online petition against the scheme received hundreds of signatures with council leaders accepting the plans will be “substantially altered” as a result.
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But Milton Keynes Council has decided to stick with the proposals despite local companies claiming the changes have led to a loss of business.
It is understood that the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) have sought legal advice over whether councils can alter roads without public consultation.
The agency says the changes have increased congestion and air pollution rates in many areas.
In a safety risk, the ABD also revealed that cars have been seen mounting pavements to get past closed areas instead of taking diversions.
ABD spokesperson, Hugh Bladon said: “This legislation has been rushed through and is being used by councils to close roads, creating pinch points, congestion and unwanted one way systems.
“Meanwhile, new cycle routes have cut road width causing more problems for motorists.”
It may not be the only legal challenge against the roads with some local politicians also considering their next move.
Conservative Councillor in Bromley, Colin Smith, has also begun legal proceedings in a bid to force Croydon Council to remove barriers.
He said: “I can confirm that Bromley has this week initiated the first tentative legal steps to try and have the barriers removed by order if commonsense isn’t deployed and their street paraphernalia removed swiftly – as we would clearly far prefer.”
This led Croydon council to hit back at the move, saying the new scheme has been “welcomed” by many locals.
They revealed the scheme was “encouraging” more people to walk and cycle and helped address the issue of reduced capacity on public transport.
A council spokesperson added: “We are confident in our use of the emergency powers. Feedback is very important to us.
“We have already made improvements based on local input, and we remain keen to work closely with Bromley to resolve any concerns.”
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