FRUSTRATED councillors have questioned a decision to spend cash on a brand new cycle lane- just yards away from an unused one.

Work is currently underway on Somnes Avenue, Canvey, as part of the national cycle strategy policy, which is designed to encourage more islanders to get on their bikes.

Councillors believe an old cycle lane in Winter Gardens Path, which runs parallel to the new one, should be restored instead.

Barry Campagna, councillor for the island's South ward, has labelled the work a waste of funding.

He said: "I don’t see why they’ve spent money making the new one, when there’s a perfectly good one nearby.

"The Winter Gardens one leads to the same point as where the new one is being put in, and it is actually away from the road too, so it’s actually more safe. The old one is in a bit of a state, but it would surely be better to restore the old one than start digging up the road and wasting money creating a new one."

John Anderson, councillor for Canvey Central ward, said islanders would have welcomed more consultation on the scheme by County Hall.

He said: "I think there’s a principle that given the road infrastructure on Canvey, any scheme is welcomed. However I don’t think we were properly consulted on this.

"The old one does need a lot of work on the second half, and I understand it gets quite dark in the area. But to be honest it’s far more pleasant with the golf course and the allotments in the area, and I think people would feel safer being away from the traffic.

"Given the work that has been going on in Somnes Avenue right now, any restoration of the old path would certainly not be more major."

The old lane misses out the Somnes Avenue roundabout, weaving through Castle Point Golf Course and a set of allotments, but goes towards Benfleet train station- the same as the new lane.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, has welcomed the work, which began in February and is on schedule to finish in June.

He said: “There is a massive ditch there that would need working on, I think the new one going in is fine.

“It’s all part of an initiative to get more people cycling, particularly along that stretch towards the train station. Ultimately there always been a conflict between cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

“The good thing about this lane going in, is that cyclists have their own lane.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “The current cycleway between Canvey and Benfleet station, from Somnes Avenue, Canvey Road and Ferry Road is being upgraded with improved crossing points, lighting, surfacing and signage. A new stretch of cycleway will be added on the northern side of Somnes Avenue to provide an improved cycle link to local housing. We are also planning to improve bus stops along the route and replace some shelters.

“Work is well underway and is scheduled to complete before June. It is being paid for by a grant secured by Essex County Council from the South Essex Local Sustainable Transport Fund.”