A TOWN'S cycling campaign group has warned that "schemes that lack ambition simply won’t get funding" as a council puts forward its cycling-friendly plans.

Darlington Council has said a cycle route between the Memorial Hospital and the town centre is a priority, forming the first phase of a direct route from West Park to the town centre as part of wider plans, as it bids for funding.

Councillor Matthew Snedker, chair of campaign group Darlovelo, recognises plans must be ambitious but calls for greater action after "money so far has been spent on posters" instead of infrastructure.

He said: "Cycling and walking has been underfunded for decades so putting in place a plan to deliver safe and seductive routes for active travel will be a demanding one.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

"Up until now, what little money we received has been spent on posters, leaflets and advertising.

"The lack of commitment has meant that infrastructure has often been lacking in ambition and failed to treat cyclists equally.

"In the ten weeks since the first round of funding was released, Leicester has build ten miles of protected cycle lanes. In contrast, Darlington has actually reduced access for people who cycle into the town.

"The Department of Transport has been crystal clear, that schemes should transfer significant amounts of road space to people walking and cycling. Schemes that lack ambition simply won’t get funding.

"Now Darlington has the opportunity to invest in a couple of key routes.

"Linking West Park to Morton Park via Auckland Road, Woodland Road and Yarm Road would be an important first step in delivering the health, and financial benefits that the town deserves.

"Another vital scheme to make active travel a natural choice for more people to install School Streets, which have been shown to reduce the congestion caused by school run traffic."

A School Street is where a road outside a school is temporarily restricted during school run times.

"School streets have proved very popular and effective in other authorities and its time our families benefitted from them in Darlington, " Cllr Snedker added.

Darlington Council is, however, currently rolling out 20mph speed limits outside schools.

"Darlovelo is keen to continue its positive working relationship with Darlington Council but will not hesitate to highlight plans that fall short of the quality that we deserve as a town," the College ward councillor finalised.