A NEW cycle lane on a Blackburn street which residents say appeared overnight has been described as ‘insane’.

Residents and businesses say they were not consulted and Wensley Road’s on-street parking has been moved from one side of the road to the other without warning.

The new markings mean that residents can park some vehicles on the pavement on double yellow lines - but only at designated times.

On the opposite side, a ‘walking and cycle’ route has been painted meaning residents are no longer permitted to park there.

Wensley Road has previously been marked with double yellow lines on one side meaning residents were forced to park on adjoining streets or on just one side of the road.

The work being carried out in Higher Witton, Rolleston, St Marks and Wensley Road is part of the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.

Last month Blackburn with Darwen Council announced funding of £77,000 from the scheme aimed at helping local authorities make roads safer for cyclists and walkers.

During phase one, a permanent safe walking and cycling route from Witton Park to Blackburn town centre will be created.

Tracy Johnson, who has run the Wensley Road Launderette for 27 years, said the new markings would effectively kill her business.

She said: “To inconvenience all these people is just insane. There are no side streets along most of this stretch for people to park. We did not get a single letter notifying us.

“I have been here for 27 years and the past few months have been extremely difficult and this will effectively kill my business. My business relies on drop-offs and short-term parking.”

One Wensley Fold resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “This has happened without any notification to residents of Wensley Road.

“The council have forced us to move our cars over the road, made parking bays half on the pavement and made a cycle lane outside of our home. There are only about three cyclists using this road. There will be residents who will have no place to park. It is an absolute waste of money. I just got a knock on the door and got told to move the car. There has not been a piece of paper through the door.”

Another resident said: “It is a bit strange to say the least. Why do we need a cycle lane here? It was perfectly fine as it was and it seems they had some money and then had to spend it.”

At the bottom of Saunders Road business owners feel they have been let down. They say the cycle lane takes up valuable parking with double yellow lines painted on the other side.

Abdul Basit opened Premier Plumbing and DIY two years ago. He said: “We have been a bit concerned because unless they remove the double yellow lines outside the business, where are people supposed to park?

“My customers will stop for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and everyone parks where the cycle lanes are now. We have been told we can’t park there now. I don’t see many cyclists using this route.”

Sohail Khan, of Wensley Mini Mart, said: “It does affect our business. Where are our customers passing this stretch meant to park? Nobody asked us for any suggestions.”

Under an experimental traffic regulation order, highways staff have been on site to talk to residents.

They say they have also written to residents to make them aware of the work and to find out more from officers and councillors.

A Blackburn with Darwen Council spokesman said: “We appreciate that these works to improve walking and cycling on National Cycle Route 6 (NCR6) have had an impact on residents’ parking and access.

“These works have been undertaken as part of a national strategy to promote walking and cycling on existing infrastructure with the Emergency Active Travel Fund, where budget has been supplied to local authorities to be spent on improvements to routes within six weeks of receipt.

“To enable works to be undertaken at pace the Department for Transport recommend the use of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order, where consultation takes place over a 12 month period once the works have been installed. We will continue to keep lines of communication open with residents over the next 12 months to gather feedback and to make any necessary changes to the scheme to balance the interests of residents and cyclists.”

Contact bwdstrideandride@blackburn.gov.uk.