A SCHEME to create a cycleway link from Harnham to Salisbury's city centre is moving forward.

This comes after Wiltshire Council has received confirmation of £227,000 funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) to progress the first five road reallocation schemes in the county.

The five schemes, in Salisbury, Bradford on Avon, Purton, Trowbridge, and Chippenham, are based on existing bus routes and will link the city and town centres with homes and places of work on the edges of the city and towns.

The council says the schemes will make it easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists to access shops, businesses and places of work without driving or using public transport, and also help people to maintain social distancing.

Councillor Bridget Wayman, the cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “It’s great news that we’ve received this funding. Work will start within the next four weeks and will be completed within eight weeks.

“We’ve had many suggestions for other schemes from town and parish councils, members of the public and local groups, and we know that these five schemes don’t go far enough, but we’re working with DfT to bid for an extra £908,000 of funding that we hope to use to progress several more cycling and walking routes in Wiltshire.

“Our teams are working round the clock to survey and plan all the suggestions we’ve received, so we’ll be in a good position to take several of these forward if and when we receive the next round of funding.

“We’re also working on some other major projects that will bring cycling and walking benefits – and we’ll have more news on these soon.

"We’re looking forward to these schemes being installed so cyclists and walkers in these five areas can get to shops and to work safely, and also enjoy the physical and mental health and environmental benefits."

The Salisbury cycleways will link Harnham to the city centre, allowing cyclists easy access to the city.

The scheme will see one southbound lane on Brown Street turned into a cycleway and the removal of on-street parking on Exeter Street to create a cycleway on the street while maintaining two-way traffic.

Work is due to start in the next four weeks on these schemes, and the council will have more to announce on the next round of funding, and other major cycling and walking projects.

A spokesperson for the Cycling Opportunities Group for Salisbury (COGS) said it was "supportive of any schemes which will improve safety for cyclists on our roads".

However, added: "COGS have some concerns about the route to Harnham which Wiltshire Council have selected, and these concerns have been raised with Wiltshire Council’s Transport Portfolio holder Cllr Wayman. The cycleway selected was not among the suggestions to improve social distancing in the city proposed by COGS, noting that there are alternative routes for cyclists to/from Harnham (as shown on the Salisbury & Wilton Cycle map). For example there are cycle routes through the Close and the Friary and further steps could have been taken to improve these routes. 

"We question whether the requirement for a cycle lane along a bus route applies to Wiltshire Council, since Government guidance suggested this was not a requirement for local authorities where public transport use is low. While we have doubts as to whether this is the best use of limited finances we hope that it can be designed to be of some benefit to local cyclists."