New cycle lanes through Salisbury city centre criticised

THE new cycle lanes set up through the city centre this week have been criticised by businesses and councillors. 

The temporary, six-month scheme is part of the Department for Transport’s emergency active travel funding, and due to the requirement to install the scheme within a short time frame, it does not require the usual extensive consultation process with stakeholders or the public.

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A B&B on Exeter Street, who wished to remain anonymous, said they were never consulted about the lanes beforehand, before receiving an official letter on September 5 notifying them of the start date. 

They were also told residence parking in Exeter Street and the two-hour parking would be suspended for at least a year. 

They said: “We were told more parking spaces would be provided on The Friary Estate, but older residents have concerns about walking back from the Friary in the dark during the winter months and we have quite a few elderly people in Exeter Street.

“One of our unique selling-points has been that our guests could park opposite but now we are told that they can park opposite to drop off their bags and then park up somewhere around the Friary Estate in Zone F. 

“That means that we will have to go with them and look for a parking space. I believe that Zone E have even greater problems.”

There have also been reports of safety issues not considered, such as large vehicles crossing into the cycle lane on the corner of St Anne Street and Exeter Street, and the possibility of emergency service vehicles being blocked by the congestion on the roads.

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Kludo and Inc. cocktail bar on the corner of Brown Street and Milford Street has had its loading bay blocked off by the bollards installed.  

The bar’s manager, Natalie Down, said on Twitter: “The issue isn’t the cycle lane, it’s the bollards, the removal of the loading bay and complete disregard for local businesses on the route who, as far as I’m aware, had no prior warning. 

“Local Salisbury businesses who are already struggling due to the pandemic!”

Salisbury City Councillor Mark McClelland said: “A number of Conservative city councillors continue to be very concerned that significant changes are being made to Salisbury’s roads without any proper consultation or democratic legitimacy.

“We all want to improve the city for cyclists and pedestrians but not at the expense of further congestion and inconvenience for the vast majority of residents who depend on their cars on a daily basis.”

Parvis Khansari, Director of Highways, said: “The new cycle paths on Exeter Street and Brown Street are part of the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund, and encourage people who would usually make short commuter trips to cycle instead.

“The paths make it easier and safer for cyclists to access shops, businesses and places of work without driving or using public transport.

“No loading bays have been lost in this project, as any removed have been replaced. There was a loading bay on the eastern side of Brown Street between Winchester Street and Milford Street; this has been removed, but a replacement bay has been provided on the other side of the road.

“All residents on both Exeter Street and Brown Street have been offered alternative parking provision, and there is parking nearby.

“Visitors to businesses in the area can still load and unload any luggage by stopping on Exeter Street before parking nearby.”

Cycling group Salisbury COGS has been approached for comment.

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