PLANS to get youngsters on their bikes or walk travelling to and from Arden School as part of a green scheme in Knowle have been slammed as a waste of money by a borough councillor.
The Arden Safer Routes to School proposals have come under fire from Councillor Jeff Potts, (Con, Knowle) who says the plans are a poor use of funds and not popular with local residents who cannot justify a need for it to go ahead.
The scheme involves new traffic calming measures being introduced, a part-time 20mph hour speed limit coming into force outside the school and new cycle routes being introduced in Knowle Park. with funding coming from a central government grant and the remaining costs subject to a bid by the cycling charity Sustrans.
The plans were amended following an earlier consultation in December 2008 and a public exhibition was held on the issue at Knowle Library from May 5- 23.
Cllr Potts said: “It is the wish of 14 per cent of the Arden School population to cycle to school instead of walking, if the mood takes them and this means that the vast majority prefer to use other ways to get there.
“This minority interest is not based on any objective criteria, is this the way to spend £210,000 of precious public and charity money?”
“It will inconvenience many residents as our park and roads will be dug up for no logical reason. Arden School already meets the government objectives for walking and cycling at 74 per cent
“The money should be spent on a known genuine need that is proven to exist in Solihull.”
Former councillor Trevor Eames, who is now secretary of Solihull Ratepayers Association, also claims the scheme is unnecessary, complex and expensive, representing poor value to taxpayers.
He said: “Arden pupils are well disciplined with good road sense and use the existing road Station Road crossing very safely.
“We all know we are living in difficult times and public expenditure above all needs carefully husbanding and to be wisely spent. This project in Knowle simply does not meet that criteria .”
Cabinet member for transport and highways, Cllr Ted Richards, said: “We have consulted widely with residents and parents of schoolchildren in the area including an exhibition at Knowle Library held last month. We are currently analysing the results of that consultation.
“We will also be atttending a public meeting organised by the Knowle Society on July 16. “I will then be receiving a report in September to make a decision about the next steps.”