Leaders urged to back Shrewsbury's 'mini-Holland' bid

A plea has been issued for an MP and council leader to throw their weight behind a bid to turn Shrewsbury into a "mini-Holland".

Could Shrewsbury soon look more like Amsterdam?
Could Shrewsbury soon look more like Amsterdam?

Councillor Rob Wilson wants Daniel Kawczynski and Lezley Picton to support the bid for millions of pounds worth of funding, which would see a vast upgrade of cycling routes and a reimagining of how transport operates in Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury Town Council has backed a motion calling on Shropshire Council to draw up a bid, and now Councillor Wilson has called on Mr Kawczynski and Ms Picton to support it.

He said: "I am writing to you to ask for your support in seeking 'mini-Holland' funding from the Government to kick-start the Big Town Plan in Shrewsbury.

"The “mini-Holland” approach stems from the Prime Minister’s time as Mayor of London. In 2014, three outer London boroughs with low levels of cycling were chosen through competition as 'mini- Hollands,' with intensive, transformational spending on their roads and streetscapes to make them, over time, as cycle and pedestrian-friendly as their Dutch equivalents.

"Segregated lanes were installed on main roads, low-traffic neighbourhoods were put in, and pedestrians were given thousands of metres of extra space. In the first of the areas treated, cycling increased by 18 per cent and walking by 13 per cent in a single year.

"In September 2020, Shropshire Council unanimously backed the new national walking and cycling vision: Gear Change. This document announced that 12 willing non-London local authority areas would be selected, to benefit from intensive investment in mini-Holland schemes on the same model.

"To get mini-Holland funding, the applicant must be a place where cycling is currently low and where there is serious political commitment to dramatic change – not just for cyclists, but for everyone who lives and works there. A town where only five per cent of journeys are currently cycled, like Shrewsbury, would be perfect.

"The Department for Transport will surely by looking for a range of locations to demonstrate that the mini-Holland approach can work anywhere in the UK - lets make Shrewsbury a shining example to compact market towns across the country!

"I hope that you will welcome this opportunity to win significant funding for our town, and will look to discuss it at the highest levels of Government – including the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Transport and other Ministers in the Department for Transport.

"I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further at your convenience."

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