Cyclists’ anger as hire scheme funds refused

NPA chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre

NPA chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre

First published in News by

ANGRY cyclists have launched a backlash against the New Forest National Park Authority after members voted not to introduce a ‘Boris Bike’ cycle hire scheme.

A £3.5 million pound government grant given to the forest to boost cycling will be used on other projects after NPA members decided declining interest and questions over its viability meant the Public Bike Scheme costing £2 million wasn’t worth pursuing.

The scheme would have seen people being able to hire cycles from stations around the forest.

But NPA chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: "The grant has been given and now it's up to us to spend it responsibly and wisely in the way that we have promised Government we will spend it.

“The public bike system isn't the only project that's been handled by the authority, there are other projects which are ongoing.

“But we're confident that we'll be able to use the grant properly in a way that's expected of us."

He added: "We've looked at it very carefully and found that we don't have enough confidence in the success of the project as a business to be able to survive.

“We can't take the risk with taxpayers’ money to spend it and not be certain, or at the very least pretty sure, that the project would succeed."

But cyclists have blasted the NPA via Twitter.

Ian Freshwater said: “@NewForestNPA 'National' park? Represented by a group of over 60-year-old NIMBYs? A farce, a disgrace - hope your budget is cut to nothing.”

Sam Williams said: “@NewForestNPA Horrific decision. Well done! You will be made to regret this I believe... Seriously good democracy on show! Unbelievable...”

Nic Stephenson said: “Absolutely appalling, undemocratic, un-environmental, fiscally imprudent bigotry from @NewForestNPA this afternoon. Disgusting.”

And Duane Hysted said: “@NewForestNPA better be a very good statement explaining why an unelected committee can ignore the people! Disgusted to be paying tax here.”

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