MP goes to war with council in cycle path blame game

Sefton Council’s Labour chiefs have hit back at Resort MP Damien Moore after he issued a scathing attack on the new Hoghton Street cycle lane.

The much maligned cycle route which has been blasted by business owners along the busy street is now the target of MP Damien Moore, who says the council need to get a handle on the situation.

However the council have been quick to call out Mr Moore for his comments, reminding residents that the scheme was ‘forced’ upon the council under pressures from the Tory government.

Southport MP Damien Moore has received several complaints from local businesses concerned about the damage being caused by the new cycle lanes, and also about the loss of £137,000 income from the suspension of the pay and display bays on Hoghton Street in Southport.

Over 1,000 people have signed a petition against the scheme in just 24 hours. Mr 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.”

In a distinctly hard line rebuttal, Cllr Ian Maher, the leader of Sefton Council, said Mr Moore’s issues should be with his own government.

Cllr Maher said “In May during what was and still remains an incredibly difficult time for councils across the country, the Conservative Government, through their Emergency Active Travel Fund, placed significant pressure on Sefton Council to urgently reallocate road space to produce cycling and walking facilities.

“To further compound these pressures, the Government then stipulated that these schemes had to be started within four weeks and completed within eight weeks of funding being approved.

“This unfortunately meant it was not possible to carry out a consultation in the way we normally would with our valued communities, due to the incredibly restrictive nature of Mr Moore’s Conservative Government’s timescale and requirements.

“Our hard working officers have already fed back to Mr Moore’s government a request that they allow more time in the second round of the fund to allow for us to carry out an effective community consultation”