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Waltham Forest wins! Council secures millions for cycling improvements

Cycling in the borough is about to become a whole lot easier after the announcement that Waltham Forest Council has secured a multi-million pound investment from the Greater London Authority.

Outer London boroughs were encouraged to apply for funding from the Mayor of London’s “mini-Hollands” programme last year. All Outer London boroughs were able to bid for the money – £100million set aside specifically by the Mayor for cycling. Waltham Forest was one of the eight that were shortlisted at the end of last year and one of three boroughs to now be selected for full mini-Holland status.

“This is absolutely brilliant news for Waltham Forest,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment. “This was money specifically set aside for cycling by the Mayor, so the fact we have been selected is a massive shot in the arm for Waltham Forest and will make a huge difference to the borough.

“It will mean tens of millions of pounds being spent on an innovative array of schemes that will see the borough’s roads transformed to make them more cycle-friendly. Obviously cyclists will be the primary beneficiaries, but an investment of this size will also mean significant improvements in the public realm and a major investment in the local economy leading to growth and jobs for local people.

“It will truly change Waltham Forest right across the borough and mean that more people can get out on their bikes and cycle safely. We’ve done a lot of work to identify what needs doing to make Waltham Forest more cycle-friendly and now this huge windfall will mean we can make giant leaps forward.”

The awards were announced this morning by the Mayor of London at a cycling summit at City Hall. It was also revealed at the event that a new quietway from Bloomsbury to Walthamstow would be built. It will be the first of two new quietway routes that will see direct and continuous routes on low-traffic back streets open later this year. The other will be from Waterloo to Greenwich.

Enfield and Kingston were also selected for full mini- Holland status, with each borough receiving up to £30 million. Changes in Waltham Forest will include a semi-segregated Superhighway route along Lea Bridge Road, a range of measures focused on improving cycling in residential areas and the creation of “Hackney-style” cycle-friendly low-traffic neighbourhoods.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, 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.”

Though the mini-Holland scheme focuses on improving conditions for cyclists, it will also transform significant parts of the borough’s public realm, cut overcrowding on public transport and reduce traffic congestion, pollution and parking pressures.

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