Transport chiefs must move to silence the critics of a £2.6m cycle project by ensuring the routes are well used when they open, a borough councillor has said.
The North Solihull Strategic Cycle Network is creating 13km of new pathways running through Castle Bromwich, Kingshurst, Smith’s Wood and Chelmsley Wood.
Councillor David Jamieson (Lab, Kingshurst & Fordbridge) said there should be a wide-reaching campaign to publicise the scheme between now and when work is completed in 2015.
“I think the project is terrific,” he told a meeting last week. “But there will be many people who don’t think that the time and money should be spent on this sort of thing.
“There have been cases where residents have told us cycle paths are never used and we want to avoid that happening here because the critics will be watching very closely.
“We don’t want to be in a position where people are accusing us of creating a multi-million pound white elephant.”
Solihull Council’s transport department has said the priority to begin with was raising awareness among businesses in the area but there would also be efforts to encourage schoolchildren and community groups to make use of the routes.
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “I have been harangued by some people who have asked why we have spent taxpayers’ money on this scheme but in actual fact the funding has come from the European Regional Development Fund - it is not the council who have paid.”
The new network will connect with existing routes near the NEC to provide the first continuous cycle link between Castle Bromwich and Solihull town centre.