With the government announcing a £2 billion package to boost cycling and walking, we asked the leader of Harlow Council, Cllr Mark Ingall for his thoughts on the proposal.
We asked as Cllr Ingall has led a vocal and visual campaign for the improvement of cycle tracks, the responsibility of Essex County Council.
Cllr Ingall said “Harlow has a magnificent network of cycle tracks. Indeed the town was designed around these cycle tracks and I have long recognised their value in creating a cleaner, greener and more environmentally sustainable Harlow and I have campaigned to have them properly maintained.
“Unfortunately I am also aware that many of our cycle tracks are in a very poor state. I regularly walk into town along them, occasionally I even ride my bike, and I see the potholes, the flooding and the broken lighting. Recently I counted more than 50 potholes in a 400 m of cycle track that links Bush Fair to the Town Centre.”
“Residents often ask me why Harlow Council haven’t repaired them if we value them so highly. It’s a good question and the answer is that the maintenance of our cycle paths is the responsibility of Conservative controlled Essex County Council and they should be maintained from the 85p in every £1 of Council Tax that we collect that we have to give to Essex County Council.
They are aware that this is a concern to us, I have raised the matter frequently and made Harlow’s Essex County Councillors aware of the problem, as this social media message shows. Unfortunately Essex do not seem to see how important the cycle tracks are to this town.
“However, as we look forward to winning the Covid battle it’s a time to look to the future and consider how we want to rebuild a better Harlow with an even firmer focus on health and well-being. We need to see how this money is distributed but it could well mean that there is now no reason for Essex County Council to continue with their failure to maintain the wonderful resource that our cycle tracks represent and I, and I am sure all of Harlow, looks forward to their repair, regeneration and extension.”