Council bike ban feud may lead to court

Two local authorities are at legal loggerheads over a bike ban in the centre of Cambridge.

The city council is taking the unusual step of exploring the possibility of legal action against the county council.

One public law expert says it is not unheard of for a local authority to consider judicial review of another, but the scenario is “not particularly appetising” because local council tax-payers could end up funding both sides of the litigation.

Simon Pugh, head of legal services at Cambridge City Council, says the authority is seeking counsel's opinion following the county council's decision to extend restrictions on cyclists in the city. The county's transport services committee voted, against the advice of officers, to widen the bike ban's scope for a six-month trial period.

But barrister Michael Fordham, author of the 'Judicial Review Handbook', says it would be “an uphill struggle” to argue that the decision was “unreasonable” because of the experimental nature of the scheme.