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Published: February 2, 2021

Melksham to Hilperton Cycle route improvements one step closer

Cllr Jon Hubbard has welcomed news that the Melksham to Hilperton cycle route improvements will now be taken forward for further consultation and consideration as part of Wiltshire Council's response to the DFT Tranche Two funding for improving cycling facilities.

The announcement has been made in a detailed press release issued by Wiltshire Council, shown below, which says there was 80% support for developing the scheme and that "Of the tranche two schemes, we will hold a further consultation on the two projects we are considering taking forward – Hilperton to Melksham via Semington, and Easton Lane – in the coming months."

The Melksham South councillor commented, "This is welcome news. It is really important that we address the challenge of the connection between Melksham and Trowbridge for safe cycling. I have done the route on many occasions and when using a road bike find that the stretch between Semington and Hilperton is quite challenging with the traffic levels and width of the road.

"To see a safe alternative that could be used would be a significant improvement and undoubtably would encourage more people to cycle rather than use their cars."

Wiltshire Council Press Release

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 in the county, 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 at this point. However, those that received support in the survey may be progressed in the future, if funding is available.

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.

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to take part in our consultation on these schemes. We were instructed by the DfT to install the tranche one schemes without consultation, but it was important that we received feedback on these cycling lanes, even after they had been installed.

“The decision on these schemes now has to go through the formal process, but if approved, we will consider removing the A420 Chippenham and Brown Street and Exeter Street schemes in the week commencing 1 March – though this would be dependent on both the formal decision not being ‘called in’ by councillors and the weather during that week, as we would need to do some line painting to reinstate parking spaces. We would then start work on making the remaining tranche one schemes permanent.

“Of the tranche two schemes, we will hold a further consultation on the two projects we are considering taking forward – Hilperton to Melksham via Semington, and Easton Lane – in the coming months. Some of the other proposed tranche two schemes may still go ahead in the future too, depending on funding.

“Cycling and walking bring many benefits to health, air quality and carbon reduction, and we remain committed to promoting active travel in Wiltshire.”

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

You can always get in touch with Cllr Jon Hubbard

01225 807969
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