MP urges council to scrap cycle lanes which cost £137,000 in lost revenue a year and damage local businesses

The new pop up cycle lanes on Hoghton Street in Southport town centre

MP Damien Moore is calling for the immediate suspension of the controversial new pop-up cycle lanes in Southport town centre.

The Southport Conservative MP says he has been inundated with complaints about the scheme from local businesses who fear it will damage their trade at a time they are desperately trying to rebuild from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He is concerned that Sefton Council is pressing ahead with a scheme that will cost the local authority £137,000 in lost revenue from the loss of pay and display parking spaces along Hoghton Street alone, which have now been replaced by a lengthy cycle lane along both sides of the road.

Contractors working for Sefton Council are currently creating the new cycle lanes and erecting ‘no entry’ signs for a new North-South cycle lane that runs from Queens Road through Hoghton Street, Chapel Street, Tulketh Street, Wesley Street and along Talbot Street.

Sefton Council has now blocked cars from driving along Queens Road; removed pay and display parking spaces on Hoghton Street and Talbot Street; and reversed a ban on cycling in the pedestrianised Chapel Street area.

The council aims to extend the scheme up towards Birkdale and out towards Churchtown and Crossens.

The pop-up cycle lanes will be in place for six months before Sefton Council makes a decision whether to make them a permanent feature.

Several businesses and local residents have contacted Southport MP Damien Moore to express their concerns.

Over 1,000 people have already signed a petition urging the council to reverse the current traffic restrictions in just 24 hours.

Southport MP Damien Moore said: “These new cycle lanes are a step backwards by Sefton Council. The scheme is not serving residents or businesses in Southport.

“We want people to come into the town centre and we want to make that decision convenient, particularly at a time when businesses are trying to rebuild after the adverse impact of this pandemic. “This is not a time to be turning residents and tourists away from our town centre or making their experience of our town more difficult. It has to be accessible.

“We want people to be able to drive into Southport town centre and visit local businesses.

“Sefton Council is usually telling the Government that it is short of money. Creating a new cycle route here, which will see them lose up to £137,000 in revenue a year just through the loss of pay and display bays on Hoghton Street, is a case of Sefton Council shooting itself in the foot.

“There has been no consultation with local businesses, many of whom have contacted me to express how concerned they are at the damage these new cycle lanes are already causing.

“I am not against cycling, and I support measures to increase cycling and walking in Southport under the right circumstances and in consultation with local residents and businesses.

“But these new pop-up cycle lanes cannot be created at the expense of local businesses and threaten their existence at a time when they are trying so hard to recover from the pandemic.”

In a report to councillors, Sefton Council said it hopes that the improved cycle network will encourage some users, particularly those travelling on short journeys, to cycle or walk.

They added that “it is also acknowledged there is limited alternative parking around Hoghton Street, so at busy times spaces may not be available and vehicles may divert elsewhere.”

The council report added that the income generated by the pay and display bays to be removed was £137,000 in 2019/20. This was a combination of parking charges and penalty notices.