A FOUR-kilometre cycleway is to be implemented in Shaftesbury later this month, with hopes to offer a safer walking and cycling experience across the town.

In a report to the town council’s Recreation, Open Spaces and Environment Committee in July, business manager Brie Logan said that “in the initial consultation in February 2019, 75 per cent of respondents felt the need for safer walking and cycling routes” throughout Shaftesbury.

Plans for the drafted circular route were then welcomed at last week’s full town council meeting.

The approved trial network will cover Royal chase Roundabout, Hawkesdene Lane, St James Street, Breach Lane, Enmore Green, Yeatmans Close, New road, Bell Street, Barton hill, Christy’s lane and Wincombe lane, with rest points, viewing points and signage along the way.

Despite the motion being backed unanimously by councillors, Councillor Karen Tippins said that part of the plan needed to be looked at “quite closely”, as part of the route goes along the A30 bypass which is “very dangerous”.

Cllr John Lewer said he had raised the same point previously and the map provided to the council was “inaccurate”, as the route goes along a footpath underneath the bypass into Yeatmans Close.

Cllr Peter Yeo said the route was a “good idea” but needs to be extended as it progresses.

The motion was therefore carried that “[the] development of phase one of the local cycleway circular route is approved and supported, which included temporary cycle parking options as recommended by Dorset Council”.

It was also approved that £1,000 would be allocated to phase one of the project, to cover the costs of temporary signage and marketing of the cycleway.

The project will now be managed by town clerk Claire Commons and the business manager, in collaboration with Dorset Council Highways and walking and cycling charity Sustrans.

Sustrans has offered to support the project with temporary signage solutions and will train selected volunteers at no cost to the council.

Alongside the cycleway trial, there will be an opportunity for residents to provide feedback on their experience, so physical improvements can be made during phase two of the project.

As part of the second phase further cycle parking options, highway enhancements at New Road and a cycle ramp will come into fruition.

Phase three will aim to connect the route to nearby villages. It is hoped by the authority that the permanent network could be in place by spring next year.