CHESTER’S active travel lanes should be ‘paused’, according to the council’s Sustainable Travel Taskforce.

The body said yesterday (Thursday, February 11) that the lanes, on the A51 in Boughton and A5116 in Upton, had not shown a significant increase in ‘safe cycling and walking’.

‘Pause’ does not mean the lanes will be dismantled entirely.

Instead, the infrastructure will be kept in place, with signage advertising they are not in use — while the council must also agree with the suggestion before work is done.

The decision has been welcomed by both campaigners and the Conservative group on Cheshire West and Chester Council.

A spokesperson for the People Against Travel Lanes Chester group said: “We welcome and fully support the common sense decision made yesterday.

“The recommendation that community engagement and better planning now takes place to shape what happens next with an open mind is something we have been asking for from the very beginning and fully endorse.

“We are disappointed to see that Cheshire West and Chester Council failed to provide the Taskforce with further information when requested such as the feedback received from residents so this could be viewed as part of the decision making process.

“This is just part of a long list of failures and absence of responsibility on the part of the council and if a common sense approach was taken at the very beginning we wouldn’t have had to wait as long as we have for this recommendation.”

Previously, attempts have been made to ‘remove’ the lanes via a motion to December’s full council meeting.

Reacting to the latest development, Conservative group leader Cllr Margaret Parker said: “[The lanes] have caused inconvenience, unreasonable traffic congestion, and pollution in some of the main routes into Chester at a time when our high street needed a boost, not hindrance.

“Genuine community concern was represented by a passionate campaign via social media and this effort looks to have borne positive results.

“The question is, when will these recommendations be implemented? This has already taken too long — it’s time now for the Labour cabinet responsible for these matters to act and finally demonstrate they are listening.”

A council spokesperson said: “At its meeting of February 11, 2021, the Taskforce considered the findings of a subgroup who recommended a ‘pause’ of the experimental schemes. This recommendation to ‘pause’ was supported by a majority of the Taskforce members.

“The recommendation was not for an immediate suspension as ‘there is insufficient data available to confirm a significant increase in ‘safe cycling and walking’.

“It was a suggested ‘pause’ while the subgroup develop a new solution or a final long-term solution.

“The subgroup advised that they believe alternative options for cycling, walking and other sustainable transport are possible and the subgroup proposed to use the following months to research, review and develop proposals that will adapt, extend or replace the Emergency Active Travel Lanes routes in a safe and efficient manner.”

They added that the council was yet to receive a ‘formal communication’ of the recommendations, adding that it would ‘consider the Taskforce’s recommendations and all other representations received, together with its own monitoring and evaluation’ before coming to a final conclusion.