Wimbledon's Mini-Holland Cycle Bid Is Turned Down

But TfL will still work with local council on cycle improvements

The bid to transform Wimbledon town centre into a 'mini-Holland' with a share of a £100m cycle scheme pot has been turned down by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

He asked Outer London borough councils to put forward their plans to transform cycling in the capital, with the promise the best plans would receive funding for their schemes.

Merton Council showed how it would use the money to install segregated cycle lanes, cycle priority at busy junctions as well as rejuvenate existing, underused alleyways to link up different parts of Merton with cycle ways.

A share of the money available would have enabled the council to potentially divert cars away from part of Wimbledon town centre, allowing the space to be used by buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

But while Mr Johnson has announced Enfield, Kingston and Waltham Forest are the three boroughs selected for full "mini-Holland" status, the judges were impressed with Merton's application.

The Mayor has said the TfL will now work with Merton Council to take forward substantial parts of the bid to improve cycle routes and facilities.

He said: "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. It has been so hard to choose between them that I have decided that all shall have prizes.

"Areas once terra incognita for the bicycle will, over time, become every bit as cycle-friendly as their Dutch equivalents - places that suburbs and towns all over Britain will want to copy."

Cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration Councillor Andrew Judge responded: "Andrew Gilligan told me that he was impressed with our bid and that it had a lot of potential. 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."

Conservative Spokesman for Environment and Transport in Merton, Councillor Janice Howard, added: "Clearly it's disappointing that Merton has missed out on the jackpot but I am pleased Boris Johnson has confirmed he will be providing some funding for cycling improvements in our borough. Conservative councillors will continue to push for schemes which encourage cycling and walking and tackle traffic congestion, and will work with the Mayor and TfL to achieve this. 

"Conservatives want to see safer streets for all road users. It remains critical therefore that any improvements for one section of the community aren’t at the expense of another."

Dundonald Lib Dem Focus Team member, Giles Bailey, reacted to the news as follows: "It is disappointing that Merton has not been given the full opportunity to significantly improve the level of its cycling facilities."

Bailey, a transport consultant and keen cyclist continued: "As a borough with many cycling opportunities and significant traffic congestion, this bid would have given us the chance to resolve many of the problems of inconsistent cycle facility design and implementation, as well as poor cycle route connectivity.

"Despite the loss of the bid, the Council must still come forward with a long-term integrated cycle plan for Merton, as well as a funding package to deliver it. There's a huge need to resolve the numerous 'on street' conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians and road users across the borough."

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: "From the moment we launched the Mini-Holland programme we have been blown away by the ambition and scale of the proposals from boroughs across London.

"The proposals from the eight finalists were all of exceptional quality and we look forward to working with them all to help make town centres across London more friendly and accessible to cyclists and pedestrians."

Richard Tracey, London AM for Merton & Wandsworth said: " It is a pity that Merton did not win a top prize, but the Mayor is giving some money to the runners up to allow innovative cycling route changes."

Key elements of Merton's application for Wimbledon town centre were:

  • The Broadway would be closed to general traffic, although buses would continue
  • There would be segregated cycle lanes/channels along The Broadway
  • The one-way loop around the town centre (Hartfield Road/Sir Cyril Black Way) would become two-way.

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March 10, 2014