A MAJOR travel project designed to improve journeys in Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch has missed out on the latest government cash.

In news branded “very disappointing” by one of the project's leaders, it means that schemes planned to run into 2016 could be cut short at the end of the current financial year.

Bournemouth Borough Council led a joint bid between itself, Borough of Poole and Dorset County Council for the latest aspects of Three Towns Travel Choices.

The bid was for £1 million from the Department for Transport's Local Sustainable Transport Fund for a total of £1.1 million worth of projects in 2015/16.

They included business travel grants, a cycle voucher scheme, a sustainable area-wide travel network, school and college travel planning, marketing, promotion and information, car clubs and smartcards.

The initiatives will still happen this year, but the funding would have allowed them to continue in 2015/16 - casting doubts over their long-term effectiveness.

Ian Kalra, Bournemouth council's transportation services manager, said: “This is very disappointing, because the measures put forward would have enhanced those currently being delivered as part of the Three Towns Travel programme.

“The additional money would have allowed the local authorities to create a further legacy by implementing initiatives to promote sustainable travel and encourage people to cycle, walk, use the bus and car share.

“Despite our disappointment we accept we have done extremely well recently, securing over £20m in government funding to improve sustainable travel in and around the three towns.

“We also take encouragement from the Three Towns Travel schemes that have already been implemented and those that are currently being delivered. Once complete travelling sustainably between Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch will be easier, safer and more attractive.”

Cllr Ian Potter, cabinet member for transport at Borough of Poole, said he was disappointed.

He added: “Our bid would have allowed us to build on the good work already carried out in the Three Towns Travel project, which aims to encourage people to choose more environmentally-friendly forms of travel.”

SCHEMES already completed under Three Towns Travel include the new hub at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, the revamped Sea View roundabout in Poole and Burton Road footbridge.

Currently or shortly due to be under way are works at Ashley Road, Poole, Boscombe West and Richmond Hill, Bournemouth.

Dorset County Council was successful in a separate bid, securing £570,000 towards a scheme to combat road congestion and give people better access to work opportunities.

The cash will go towards work on improvements, including new walking and cycling routes, at the Aviation Business Park at Bournemouth Airport, Ferndown Industrial Estate and the Portland-Weymouth-Dorchester corridor.

Bournemouth council was also turned down for funding for a £1.1M cycle initiative.