Councillor quits as work starts on controversial cycle path extension
The vice-chairman of a parish council in Cornwall has resigned after plans to replace free parking opposite a beauty spot with a cycle path were pushed through.
Nigel Honess stepped down from Ludgvan Parish Council this week, after work started on the approximately £50,000 cycle path opposite St Michael's Mount in Marazion.
The parish council had strongly opposed the plan, which would extend an existing route into nearby Penzance, and was backed by a petition of more than 400 signatures.
However, work began on converting the parking spot, popular with dog walkers and campervans in the holiday season, on Monday, leading to the accusation that Cornwall Council "doesn't listen to anybody".
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Mr Honess said: "I am very saddened and angered that Cornwall Council has decided to close the historically free parking area.
"It's another instance of Cornwall Council coming up with these schemes, voting on these schemes and carrying them out.
"The whole area of free parking encapsulates the essence of West Cornwall for locals and visitors alike."
Mr Honess previously threatened resignation as chairman a year ago following a fiery parish council meeting, when it appeared the plans would be put through.
He said the parish council wasn't informed of the decision and that he only found out because he was a personal objector.
It was revealed last week that Ludgvan was one of a number of town and parish councils in Cornwall with empty seats going in to local elections on May 2.
Mr Honess's resignation brings the total number of councillors sitting for Ludgvan down to five – seven short of its full set of 12.
The former councillor said dissatisfaction with the performance of Cornwall Council was a major factor in the decline.
Parish chairman Richard Sergeant said communication over the cycle path scheme had been non-existent.
He said: "We asked two or three safety questions and still have not had a reply to that and then there were two full council votes, both unanimously against the plans.
"We all feel very strongly about this. We are all extremely angry and feel absolutely powerless."
A Cornwall Council spokeswoman said the petition and similar comments were fully considered as part of the decision making process.
"The decision to go ahead with the cycle path at Marazion was taken following a comprehensive consultation process.
"However, although the council is not required to identify a timeframe for such works, we recognise in this case it might have been appropriate to do so in view of the importance of the works avoiding the peak summer period and the opportunity for the contractor to deploy resources rapidly on site after Easter. The council will be discussing this matter with its contractor with a view to improving process.
"The benefits of the cycle path are in line with the council's Connecting Cornwall local transport plan, which aims to encourage healthy active lifestyles by promoting cycling."