It is supposed to be a new dawn for pedal power in Kingston – but cycling groups have been left distinctly unimpressed with early proposals for the first phase of Kingston Council’s £32m mini-Holland project.

The scheme has drawn criticism after revised drawings look dramatically different to the plans originally proposed.

Consultation on the first phase of the scheme, which will see a new segregated cycle lane along Portsmouth Road, will begin this Monday, January 19.

Updated artist’s impressions of the £1.3m project show just a white line marking a single lane for bikes to pass along the riverside road.

Earlier images included in the council’s successful bid to the Mayor of London envisioned a two-lane cycle path, separated from other traffic by a raised kerb.

Members of the Kingston Cycling Campaign vented their anger at the plans during a council meeting on Wednesday.

Jon Fray, co-ordinator of Kingston Cycling Campaign, said: “We were led to believe that there was going to be some sort of barrier between the cyclists and traffic, but now it is just a white line.

“This scheme is supposed to encourage people to cycle and ease congestion but they won’t do that if they don’t feel safe.

“Our main concern is there is not enough protective space for cyclists.

“The council is certainly not presenting a Holland-style cycling space at the moment.

“Cyclists want complete segregation to feel safe.

“If this is how the council is treating the first phase, we don’t hold out too much hope for the other phases.”

The sentiment was echoed by Liberal Democrat councillor and Kingston Cycling Campaign member Hilary Gander, who proposed direct consultation with Kingston cycling groups before going to public consultation.

But Conservative councillors hit back, accusing the cyclists of trying to “take over” the project.

Committee chairman Councillor Richard Hudson said: “This scheme is there to benefit pedestrians and motorists as well as cyclists, and everyone will have the opportunity to give their opinions during the four-week consultation period.

“It is a shame the Lib Dems on the IPC committee were playing politics with such a key project and voted against this project going forward.”

Surrey Comet:

The new drawings for Portsmouth Road (above) are markedly different to the ambitious vision depicted in Kingston's winning mini-Holland bid (below) 

Surrey Comet:

Kingston was one of three London boroughs to win a share of a £100m pot from the Mayor of London’s Mini Holland cycling initiative, with Kingston initially being allocated £34m to carry out schemes.

Major projects include a 700m boardway along the Thames and a pedestrian and cyclist-only plaza outside Kingston station.

Councillor David Cunningham, lead member for transport and environment, said: “It is not a scheme to encourage cycling to the detriment of other road users.”

Surrey Comet: Kingston's superskyway could now be a reality after the town won the bid for funding

Other mini-Holland projects include a new plaza outside Kingston station

In September, it was revealed Kingston Council had revised the cost of the full scheme up to £41m, leaving a £7m funding gap.

And after haggling with administrators wound down, Kingston’s allocation has since been revised to £32.7m.

Tax Payers' Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby, a Kingston resident, said: "Some of these improvements do make a certain degree of sense but others seem to be vanity projects with little obvious demand, and the confusion over the total cost is deeply concerning for local taxpayers.

"Any cycling scheme has to ensure that Kingston's already over-congested roads don't lose any capacity, as regardless of what planners might dream up, it is the car that most people use to get around the town and the borough."

  • An extensive wildlife survey will be carried out before the implementation of the Portsmouth Road cycling scheme.

Hart’s Boatyard, off Portmouth Road, was found to be a bat maternity roost and it will have to be established that any work to be completed will not disturb the mothering bats.