The borough’s mini-holland bid was beaten by Enfield, Kingston and Walton Forest.
Cyclists of Merton are devastated after missing out on millions of pounds of funding for the borough to become a ‘mini-Holland’.
As part of the London cycling revolution, Transport for London last week announced that Enfield, Kingston, and Walton Forest had been granted full ‘mini-Holland’ status.
This means they will receive around £30million each to redevelop their streets and make them more cycle-friendly.
The result is that Merton’s streets will remain largely as they are now, and Charles Barraball, head of the Merton Cycling Campaign, says the repercussions of this are devastating.
Mr Barraball, 71, a retired surveyor and cycling instructor, said: “The mini-Holland campaign was all about the safety of mothers and their young children.
“The decision drastically affects the life chances of cyclists in our borough. As it stands, there is no perceptibly safe route, so why would families risk the safety of their children and cycle to school or work when they can drive?”
The mini-Holland scheme aims to follow the Dutch example and drastically improve conditions for cyclists.
By doing this TfL also hopes to reduce traffic congestion, pollution and parking pressures, as well as cutting overcrowding and overspending on public transport.
Almost half of London households now do not have a car, and around a quarter of journeys in inner London are now by bike, so the scheme is logical in its effort to improve the infrastructure for cyclists.
Highlights of Merton’s bid included completely redesigning Wimbledon town centre and the Broadway based on Dutch principles, as well as building a ‘cycle-hub’ at the Centre Court shopping centre.
Despite the setback, the council insist it’s vision of making Merton a cycle-friendly borough still has a great chance of becoming a reality, and that improvements will be made in the near future.
The Mayor is giving some money to the runners up of the bid, to allow some of the planned changes to be made.
“I have been incredibly impressed with the standard of the mini-Holland entries and by the thirst among all the finalists to transform themselves into better places for people,” said Boris Johnson.
“It has been so hard to choose between them that I have decided that all shall have prizes.”
Merton cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge, added: “Naturally we are disappointed at not gaining full mini-Holland status, but we are very pleased to be part of this huge programme and to be benefitting from the funding available.”
While the exact amount of funding that Merton will receive is still yet to be confirmed, Merton’s bid was considered exceptional by TfL and the borough looks set to be able to implement parts of it.
Follow us @SW_Londoner