‘RUSHED’ plans to implement bus and cycles lanes along the A4 have been tweaked following a huge backlash from campaigners.

Slough Borough Council (SBC) has been under-fire from residents and the opposition over the temporary bus and cycle lanes on each side of Bath Road from Huntercombe Spurs to Uxbridge Road, calling it a ‘money-making scheme’ and it will cause more congestion a long that stretch of the road.

The plans have recently been tweaked where bus lanes from the Huntercombe roundabout to Dover Road will not be implemented – but, instead, advisory cycle lanes on both sides will be there due to too many side roads and entrances a bus lane could block.

The scheme was funded by the Department of Transport’s active travel fund where the council secured £180,000 to support active and local travel – with the lane costing around £50,000.

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A second petition has been set up on SBC’s website – which has accumulated nearly 3,000 signatures – calling for the council to abolish the bus lane trial as it is ‘already causing misery and confusion’ to residents.

This followed another petition on change.org – which has gathered over 6,500 signatures – but it was feared by campaigners that the council wouldn’t accept the original one due to it being on a third-party website.

Following the tweak, the leader of the Conservatives, councillor Wayne Strutton (Haymill and Lynch Hill), criticised the ‘rushed’ scheme for not involving residents from the get-go where no public consultation was undertaken.

He said: “Can you imagine how chaotic and potentially hazardous to users that stretch would’ve been?

“It’s been made worse because of all the commercial units and dangerous junctions along there and there’s been several deaths at the St Andrew’s Way junction over the years.

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“It just wasn’t going to work. It was obvious and one has to wonder how much pre-planning and computerised mapping they had done in assessing the area before looking at putting the bus lanes in.

“I’m not against bus lanes or something that works or improves – but something that’s potentially putting lives at risk or is ill thought-out I’m totally against.”

Councillor Robert Anderson (Labour: Britwell and Northborough), lead member for environment and transport, told the Observer the experimental trial is constantly under review and consultation where SBC is gathering data from congestion and air quality as well as opinions and feedback from residents to form a finalised scheme ‘based on fact’ within 18-months.

He said: “The whole point is to free up the road we don’t want to see people sitting in traffic.”

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Cllr Strutton also criticised that SBC didn’t arrange for more buses onto the road for the lanes to be used more where he suggested electric vehicles should use the lane to encourage more people to switch to cleaner alternatives.

He said: “If you want people to use alternative forms of transport, you got to make those provisions available to people.”

Cllr Anderson responded: “As a council, we’re not allowed to do anything with bus services – they’re all privately operated. All we can do is encourage people to put more bus services on.”

Once the trial has been finalised Cllr Anderson said the council is looking at schemes for fully electric vehicles to be allowed on bus lanes to incentivize residents to switch from petrol or diesel cars.

The petition can be viewed here: http://www.slough.gov.uk/moderngov/mgEpetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=65&RPID=3154723&HPID