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'Boris bikes' scheme suggested for Royal Borough

'Boris bikes' scheme suggested for Royal Borough

A cycle hire scheme has been set up in Slough

‘Boris bikes’ could be coming to the Royal Borough after councillors suggested a cycle hire scheme during a highways and transport overview and scrutiny panel meeting last night.

Councillors were discussing the cycling action plan, which is set to run until 2026 and identifies funding priorities and investment for cycling in the borough.

The report asked the panel to set up a task and finish group which would review the Draft Cycling Action Plan.

Cllr John Story (Con, Sunninghill and South Ascot) said: “Can we look at a Boris bike type plan, which will enable those who haven’t cycled for years to try again and get into cycling?”

Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) and leader of the council said the bicycles could be called ‘Bicknell bikes’ after cabinet member for highways and transport Cllr Phillip Bicknell, and said it was something the borough should look into.

He said: “Cllr Bicknell has long mentioned whether this is something we should be looking at, and I recently told him and Cllr Samantha Rayner that in context of the regeneration of Maidenhead it’s something we should be looking at. “

He said he would want significant bike access to the new Braywick Leisure Centre and the new look Maidenhead Station.

Reading and Slough both have cycle hire schemes.

Cllr Maureen Hunt (Con, Hurley and Walthams) said: “What we need to do is make cyclists feel safe going on the roads and to do that you’re going to have to take traffic off the roads and you’re going to need park and ride on the outskirts of the town.

“You’re going to need lots of buses to coincide with peak times so cyclists can drive in, pick up bikes in a secure area, covered, and bike into Maidenhead, and if they need to get the train, they can catch the bus or park and ride.”

The panel agreed to set up a task and finish group which will come back to the panel in a few months' time.

Cllr Dudley also presented a report about the Royal Borough investing in the River Thames Scheme, a major infrastructure project led by the Environment Agency providing flood protection for 15,000 homes between Datchet and Teddington in South-west London.

The scheme will cost £476m and has a shortfall of £248m.

The council would commit £10m towards the scheme over four years, beginning from 2020/2021.

He said a flood levy could be added to council tax, which would generate £500k a year to go towards the operation and maintenance costs of the scheme, subject to government legislation.

“What I want to desperately avoid is making it easy for the scheme to be cancelled. The council has reserves of about £9m. This is a very material commitment,” he added.

Cllr Julian Sharpe (Con, Sunninghill and South Ascot ) said: “If you look at what’s going on and the weather troubles in America and the Caribbean over the last few weeks, we don’t really have an option.

“Weather is different now and it is going to continue to be different and if we don’t’ do this, we will in a few years have floods in our areas. If we do this it doesn’t’ guarantee it’s going to save all those residents but we have to be seen to be doing this.”

The panel agreed to send the item to cabinet.

An update was also given about the council replacing their fleet of pool cars with electric cars.

The meeting took place at Maidenhead Town Hall.

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