A CYCLING group has said it is ‘wholly supportive’ of Wiltshire Council’s plans to pedestrianise Salisbury city centre.

In plans revealed to the Journal last week, Salisbury city centre is set to be cut off to all through-traffic from September, as Wiltshire Council looks to introduce ‘People Friendly Streets’ to the city.

Using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), the council is to trial closing the city centre to all through-traffic, only allowing access to buses and taxis, as well as access for residents, deliveries, and to car parks and disabled access.

Chairman of Cycling Opportunities Group for Salisbury, Hadrian Cook, says the group are “encouraged” by the plans, and that they can only produce a “win-win situation for us all”.

Hadrian added: “Wiltshire Council is aiming to reduce substantially the amount of traffic passing through the city centre.

“As their surveys found, around 50 per cent was indeed through traffic, ideally only vehicles concerned with business, residents or services should be in the centre.

“While COGS understands the exact details are yet to be decided, the outcome can only produce a win-win situation for us all.”

The group says, should the plans go ahead, the city centre will become a safer environment for residents, workers and visitors, and that there are indications that the air quality within the city would improve, something they call a “significant health issue”.

Hadrian adds: “Experience elsewhere (both in UK and Europe) suggests footfall for local businesses will increase, probably by around 25 per cent, helping to protect the economic heart of our city.

“Convenience of public transport should improve and reduce the need for private cars, and the regular use of cycles is undeniably good for the overall health of people of all ages. We acknowledge this is a work in progress, commencing in September and will follow the implementation of a [Experimental] Traffic Regulation Order.

“Careful monitoring for, we understand, 18 months will enable any problems to be ironed out, and up-to-date modern technology will allow permitted vehicles to pass barriers into the centre.

“Salisbury can take a lead in tackling the climate crisis, reducing city centre congestion and we can all support the NHS by taking to our bikes.”

For more information on the plans, go to the Journal website.