AS A recent positive letter contributor on the installation of the new cycle lanes, I now find myself being described by Patrick McClure as a “Green Party and Green Peace supporting zealot” in the latest batch of attempts to support the Southampton Conservative councillors attacks on their own national government policies.

Well Mr McClure, I am not a Green Party member or voter, and nor am l a member or have I ever contributed to Greenpeace.

Like all responsible people I take very seriously the issues of the environment and public health and as a grandfather of fourteen and great-grandfather of one I feel I have a responsibility for their future in our city and indeed on the planet.

I am broadly in favour of the new cycle lanes as a step in the direction of improving the city’s environment with the obvious provision that trials and alterations may be required and this combined with the news that the new park and ride systems will be in place by 2022 shows me that we have a very forward looking council.

There seems to be many assumptions amongst the letter writing critics that local businesses are opposed to the new cycle lanes.

Although I cannot speak for every local business I can certainly say that as an owner of a Southampton based business operating twenty plus commercial vehicles from our Woolston depot, that we have not noticed any additional traffic problems since the changes were made and that my fellow directors and myself fully support the council’s implementation.

With the huge irreversible move to online shopping, the decline of city centres is well documented as a national problem and is certainly not unique to Southampton, Indeed during a recent BBC Radio 4 debate on the subject, I was interested to hear the mayor of Bolton explain that their surveys indicate that the way forward is the pedestrianisation of the inner city, the replacement of retail outlets with drinking and dining establishments, and as much al fresco seating as possible all with access via safe walking and cycling routes.

This is completely borne out by national government statistics and by the changes being made by all local authorities across the country as they implement the national government funded Walking and Cycling Investment Strategy.

Mr McClure also claims that Southampton City Council does not have to implement this national Government policy.

Can I ask him if this unilateral rejection applies to all national Government requirements or is it just the policies that he does not agree with that should be ignored ?

Phil Davey then tells us that the transport minister Grant Shapps didn’t mean it when he said “Cyclists should be given priority over cars from now on”, maybe Mr Davey can tell everyone including Grant Shapps himself what his words actually translate to?

In a time when there is a growing mistrust of our elected representatives at all levels, the local Conservative politicians and their supporters have totally discredited themselves by attempting to muster some cheap support by misleadingly criticising the council for carrying out their own national Conservative government’s policies.