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Cycling schemes to be cut back

February 2, 2021 9:55 PM
By WC

Wiltshire Council has been hitting the national press for some of its silly cycle tracks, and has now decided to remove some of the less popular ones as government funding for them reduces. Here's the news item:

Wiltshire Council has today (Tuesday 2 February) announced the next steps for cycling lanes in the county after considering the results of a public consultation.

The council installed five schemes in 2020 as part of the Department for Transport's (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund to encourage people to cycle and walk instead of using public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tranche one schemes, on existing bus routes, were installed by the council without public consultation, as instructed by the DfT, given the urgent need to improve cycling facilities.

However, the council decided to retrospectively consult on the tranche one schemes to gauge public opinion and consider what the next steps for each of the cycle lanes should be. The consultation had 1,724 responses, and people were asked to say whether they supported or opposed each scheme or if that scheme was not relevant to them.

The results of the tranche one schemes consultation were as follows:

  • A420 Bristol Road, Chippenham: support 46%; oppose 54%
  • Monkton Hill, Chippenham: support 64%; oppose 36%
  • A361 Hilperton Road in Trowbridge: support 67%; oppose 33%
  • B3108 between Winsley and Bradford on Avon: support 67%; oppose 33%
  • Brown Street and Exeter Street in Salisbury: support 49%; oppose 51%

As a result of this consultation, and based on other factors such as cost and deliverability, the council's Cabinet is considering removing the A420 Bristol Road scheme in Chippenham and the Brown Street and Exeter Street scheme in Salisbury. If this is approved, all other tranche one schemes - on Monkton Hill in Chippenham, on the A361 Hilperton Road in Trowbridge, and on the B3108 between Winsley and Bradford on Avon - would be made permanent.

As part of the same survey, the council asked for views on the proposed tranche two schemes, which have not yet been installed, and are proposed as part of the DfT's now renamed Active Travel Fund.

The results of the tranche two schemes consultation were as follows:

  • Making the A420 Chippenham scheme permanent: support 46%; oppose 54%
  • Lowden Hill, Chippenham: support 51%; oppose 49%
  • Downton Road, Salisbury: support 60%; oppose 40%
  • Hilperton to Melksham via Semington: support 80%; oppose 20%
  • Easton Lane between Chippenham and Corsham: support 76%; oppose 24%

The council has received £681,000 from the DfT for these schemes, which is less than the £908,000 originally bid for, and so it is unable to take all of the schemes forward.

Taking into account the views of survey respondents, along with available funding and adherence to DfT guidelines, Cabinet is considering taking forward the Hilperton to Melksham via Semington, and the Easton Lane between Chippenham and Corsham schemes. There will be further consultation on these two schemes in due course.

To find out more about these cycling schemes, go to: https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/highways-road-reallocation-schemes