LONDON'S cycling commissioner has confirmed new Greenwich funding is on hold after the council ignored or fobbed-off nine separate meeting requests.

As News Shopper reported last week, Greenwich Council has refused to meet local journalist Andrew Gilligan, who controls a £900m Vision for Cycling fund, because of a perceived "conflict of interest".

Critics say he is being ignored for writing articles critical of the council and the borough's cyclists are now paying the price for their leader's ego. The dispute leaves Greenwich as the only London borough not taking part.

Correspondence obtained by blogger Darryl Chamberlain under the Freedom of Information Act show Mr Gilligan, or people acting on his behalf, made extraordinary efforts to contact council leader Councillor Chris Roberts, cabinet members and the chief exec.

But, staggeringly, despite potential funding for a cycling superhighway, new routes and a bike hub for Abbey Wood or North Greenwich, they reached a dead end every time with emails either ignored or promises to "be in touch" not followed up.

Council leader Councillor Chris Roberts told a recent meeting that he could still get funding without meeting Mr Gilligan, but the cycling commissioner told News Shopper no funding from the Vision would currently go to Greenwich until the issue was resolved.

He said: "Greenwich are still getting some modest cycling funding under pre-Cycling Vision legacy programmes agreed a while back, but they will not be getting any of the new cycling funding from the Vision until they have sorted this out.

"The first allocations of the new funding - small stuff, for cycle parking mostly - are about to go out to the boroughs. Greenwich will be getting a letter saying that its allocation is on hold until it has resolved this issue. The same will apply to all future funding.

"Our new programme is for far more costly and ambitious interventions, such as segregated lanes and bike superhubs, with significant stakeholder and political implications. Just as a matter of political reality, that simply can't happen without full political involvement on all sides.

"I have established good working relationships with all the other boroughs, regardless of their politics. Both Ed Lister and I have said that we remain very happy to work with Greenwich.

"If they decide to change their minds, we will fund them and treat them in exactly the same way as we do all the other 32 authorities in London. But I cannot, of course, force them to work with us, or to take our money."

A council spokesman said: "The Royal Borough of Greenwich is engaged with Transport for London regarding the mayor's Vision for Cycling.

"Our officers have had very constructive discussions with senior representatives from TfL about the priorities for cycling and we look forward to these continuing.

"Following a Best Value Review undertaken by Councillors, officers are working on a cycling strategy which will be made available shortly.

"In the meantime, we are engaged with the GLA to ensure we can move forward with confidence and to resolve the outstanding issues of concern between us."