Brummies blast ‘bankrupt’ council for spending £10m on cycle highway
The multi-million pound cycle lane was opened in 2019 but motorists say has been barely used
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Angry Brummies have blasted their bankrupt council for ‘wasting’ £10 million on ‘cycle highway’ which causes traffic chaos and is wider than a bus lane.
The multi-million pound cycle lane was opened in 2019 but motorists say has been barely used and is a prime example of the authority’s financial incompetence.
Residents also pointed out the Birmingham City Council also spent £16 million moving a bus depot 300 metres for the Commonwealth Games and it was ‘no surprise’ it had gone bankrupt.
On Tuesday (September 5) the Labour-run council issued a section 114 notice, meaning it cannot meet its financial liabilities amid an outstanding £760m of equal pay claims.
The council, which is Europe’s largest local authority, confirmed all but essential new spending must stop immediately. Locals have since highlighted a number of examples of shocking wastes of money which has contributed to town hall bosses finding themselves in the perilous position.
They include a 2.5 mile “cycle highway” along the A34 - one of the busiest commuter routes into the city - which has been barely used by cyclists since opening four years ago.
Road users say the lane, between the city centre and Perry Barr, causes complete gridlock at rush hour and forces the bus lane farther into the road.
It means parts of the road have been left with just one lane for cars - while in other sections the cycle lane slices into the pavement.
Photographs taken yesterday (Wed) shows bumper-to-bumper cars with the lane sitting empty and one cyclist even ignoring it to ride down the main road instead.Residents say the £9.85 million route only brought commuter chaos in an already over-congested city and cyclists continue to ride along the pavement or road.
Birmingham City Council also forked out £16million moving a National Express bus depot just 300 metres in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The original facility was to make way for an athletes’ village - which never even materialised and was turned instead into affordable housing.
The cost was even highlighted at the time in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Gary Sambrook, who represents Birmingham Northfield.
He said in January 2021: “In Birmingham, the city council originally budgeted £2 million to move a bus depot.
“That escalated to £16 million, which local people are going to have to pay, all to achieve a move down the road of only 300 metres. Is that not just a perfect example of Labour incompetence in local government?”
It also emerged the council ignored advice not to host the Commonwealth Games despite serious financial difficulties.
Birmingham resident Emily Hill, 45, a mum-of-three and sales advisor, said: “ I live in Perry Barr where in the last few years there has been some shocking wastes of cash. It is not surprise the council find themselves in this position having splashed £10 million on a cycle lane nobody uses and £16 million on moving a bus depot.
“The cycle lane is only a couple of miles long and reduces traffic to a single lane, causing absolute gridlock. It was a ridiculous decision. Cyclists use the main road or pavement anyway, it has made no difference at all. If anything it has made traffic worse.
“The bus depot was moved just down the road for the athletes’ village which wasn’t finished in time either. Surely people saw this news coming. It’s been one expensive waste after another and I cannot believe nobody has stepped in at some point and said ‘I think this is a bad idea’.
“Then there’s the cost of hosting the Commonwealth Games itself which looks like the final nail in the coffin. We have seen no legacy of the games and now I expect the area will just be left to rot.”
Dad-of-one Paul Turner, 36, an electrician from Kingstanding, Birmingham, added: “The people of this city have seen this coming for a while so it’s no surprise really. Their financial difficulties have been well publicised for a long time yet we went ahead and hosted the games even when they were warned not to.
“That cycle lane is a prime example of how out of touch these people are with reality and £16 million moving a bus depot that didn’t need moving is just farcical. It’s no wonder they got into such a mess and its the people of the this city who will now probably suffer as a result of their financial incompetence.”