Sheffield art spending decision delayed after cyclists’ call

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A decision on spending £160,000 on public art in a Sheffield regeneration plan has been put back after cyclists called for it to be used for a bike path.

The cash was saved through a ‘competitive tender’ process for the Grey to Green scheme – a revamp of the route from West Bar to Castlegate which will also narrow the road from four lanes to two.

Plans to install public art had been put on hold because of funding pressures but using the savings to fund it was expected to be approved by Sheffield Council chiefs yesterday.

But councillors said they had had much contact from cyclists calling for the cash to be used for a dedicated cycle lane instead.

The scheme currently includes a shared pedestrian and cyclist route.

Coun Leigh Bramall, the council’s deputy leader, said the amount of traffic that used the road was ‘very light’ and it would be ‘very cycleable’.

But he said the decision would be deferred for a report back to a future meeting.

Coun Bramall added: “I think it is important that we give proper consideration to how we’re spending it, it’s about getting the best decision for the scheme.”

Middlewood cyclist Graham Allsopp, who was at the meeting, said many people were still put off cycling because they perceived it to be unsafe and there was often ‘conflict’ on shared routes.

He added: “The council still hasn’t grasped the scale of change that they need to put in place if they want to achieve their stated aim of 1o per cent of all journeys being made by bike in nine years.

“A 3.5 metre pavement is not satisfactory for cyclists and pedestrians to share – having a separate bike lane is beneficial for drivers and pedestrians too.”

Grey to Green will see wildflowers, plants and grasses planted in an area that was badly affected by the floods of summer 2007.