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Get cycling back on track

Blackpool's hire a bike scheme.

Blackpool's hire a bike scheme.

Blackpool’s hire-a-bike scheme could be relaunched next spring after being mothballed this summer.

Most of the 500 bikes have been left in storage this year - with just a handful currently available to rent from the Solaris centre on South Promenade.

Now calls have been made for fresh investment to be made in the scheme which was launched in 2009 but closed in winter 2012 because it was costing the council about £100,000 a year, and not enough people were using it.

Last summer a scaled back network was re-opened using a manned hub on the Promenade but efforts to find a sponsor failed.

Some of the bikes have been sold off by the council through its re-use store at the Bristol Avenue recycling centre in Bispham.

Coun Don Clapham, deputy leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, said: “To hear of some of the bikes being sold off is really sad, and my fear is it is the beginning of the end.

“This administration does not seem to think it should be a priority, but £100,000 is nothing compared to the money spent in other ways trying to keep people fit.

“I hope they bring the main hubs back and then when the financial situation becomes more favourable, it could be expanded.”

The council says it hopes the scheme can be relaunched next spring, with bikes available to hire on the Promenade and from council sports centres.

Coun John Jones, cabinet member for highways on Blackpool Council, said: “We have been exploring a number of options for the future of the hire-a-bike scheme.

“We are currently in discussions with businesses which wish to run a bike hire service on the Promenade.

“The bikes will also be available to hire at each of our three leisure centres, Moor Park, Stanley Park and Palatine and they will also be used through exercise referral schemes.

“Over the years a number of the bikes have been damaged beyond economical repair and a small number have been refurbished and sold on through the re-use store.

“I am confident that bikes will continue to be used for years to come, throughout the town in a way that will benefit residents and visitors.”

 

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