A KEEN cyclist has slammed the council over its decision to scrap a pop-up travel scheme before time, claiming it prioritised “knee-jerk” public responses over giving it a chance.

Robert Smith, from Denham, criticised Buckinghamshire Council for buckling to a public petition against a so-called “quietway” between Gerrards Cross and Chalfont St Peter, adding the campaign method is ‘imbalanced’.

He said the council is “institutionally hostile to cyclists”, that it ignored support for the scheme, and that it had “nothing to show” for its investment.

READ MORE: ‘Democracy in action’ – controversial blockades scrapped after public outrage forces council’s hand

The council scrapped the quietway in September 2020 after a “clear majority objected to the scheme” in a public petition.

A series of decorative planters in Lower Road and South Park were subsequently removed well before a trial period had ended.

“When the scheme was first announced we were told the installation would be completed by the end of September,” said Mr Smith.

“By scrapping the scheme before then, the council prioritised knee-jerk views over those who expected to see the installation completed before offering a more considered opinion.”

He asked: “Why did Buckinghamshire Council ignore growing support for the scheme?”

Mr Smith said the council’s behaviour is “even more egregious by [its] statement this was ‘democracy in action’”.

READ MORE: Top radio presenter grills council over axed 'quietway' – sparking local ‘anger’

He added a public petition is “not a method for gauging public sentiment as it only invites expression of agreement with its proposition and not the reverse”.

Mr Smith claims the council spent ‘£28,000 on the scheme, with nothing to show for it’.

“I have long been of the view Buckinghamshire Council is institutionally hostile to cyclists and prefers to prioritise the car driver,” said Mr Smith.

“Of the five proposals for active travel across the county, only two are now being implemented in full.”

Mr Smith echoed the words of fellow cyclist and BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Jeremy Vine, when he also said to the council: “You can’t know if something is working until you’ve installed it and seen it used over time, probably two years’ minimum.”

In response, cabinet member for transport, Cllr Nick Naylor, said the council “fully supports” active travel.

Adding: “However, in the case of Gerrards Cross there was overwhelming local objection to the trial. Of the responses received through our e-form, 67 per cent (421) opposed the quietway, with 19 per cent supportive and 14 per cent neutral.

“There were also two other separate petitions received, each with hundreds of signatures where the majority also opposed the trial.”

Cllr Naylor also pointed to “moved and vandalised” planters, leading to “highway safety concerns”.

“I felt the right course of action was…to end the trial early in this location,” he said.

Adding: “We have continued with our broader programme of Emergency Active Travel Fund schemes, and have trials currently operating in Aylesbury and Haddenham.

“We are also continuing to work with partners on schemes such as the Misbourne Greenway, which would see development of a new high-quality walking and cycling route connecting towns and villages along the Misbourne Valley, including Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross and Denham.”

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