This is a once in a generation opportunity to shape how people get around Basingstoke, according to one ward councillor.

John McKay (Liberal Democrat, Grove) has said that the town's ring road "acts as a major barrier" for people trying to get to the town centre by bike or on foot, and his party have called on the council to look at whether one lane of the ring road could be turned into a cycle lane.

It comes as the government asked people to commute by bike or on foot wherever possible as they return to work following the coronavirus lockdown, and to avoid public transport if at all possible.

Last weekend, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced a £250 million “emergency active travel fund” to include the widening of pavements and the creation of cycle and bus-only streets, while those with old bikes could be handed vouchers to get them repaired.

And Basingstoke's Liberal Democrat party have called on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to adopt this new guidance to improve the pedestrian and cycle access across the town.

They are calling on the creation of a network of dedicated and interconnected cycle lanes, based on an analysis of travel patterns, an examination of the feasibility turning one lane of the ring road into a cycle lane and the introduction of 'park and cycle' schemes.

The Lib Dems would also welcome proposals to legalise electric scooters on roads and cycle lanes.

Cllr John McKay, Liberal Democrat Borough Councillor for Grove, said: “We’ve got a once in a generation opportunity to look at how we get around Basingstoke and transform our transport links. It’s important that we’re ambitious and creative so that we don’t miss out - we need to be radical in our approach.

“The big challenge we have in Basingstoke is the ring road, which acts as a major barrier for anyone trying to get into the town centre on foot or by bike. We need to be imaginative in terms of how we make it safer and less intimidating for pedestrians and cyclists - nothing should be off the table.

“Improving our pedestrian and cycling infrastructure has the potential to make a big difference both in the short term while we tackle Coronavirus, and more permanently once the crisis has passed.

“As Basingstoke starts to get back to work over the next few months, we need a safe and sustainable way for residents to get around. We can’t rely on buses in the way we did before because of social distancing, and getting back into our cars isn’t the solution either, as it’ll lead to greater congestion and pollution. Walking, cycling and electric scooters are an important part of the answer.

“Longer term, encouraging more walking and cycling is going to be essential if we’re to meet the carbon reduction targets we set as part of the Climate Emergency.

“I know that a lot of residents have noticed that the air quality in our area has improved considerably over the past few weeks, and we need to work out how we can maintain that while re-starting our local economy.

“The new guidance and extra funding can help us do exactly this, which is why we need to make the most of this opportunity.”