A MAJOR access road to the town centre could be closed to traffic as part of measures to encourage more people to cycle.

Hampshire County Council are currently reviewing plans of closing Chapel Hill to all traffic except buses, cyclists and pedestrians, whilst Vyne Road will also be closed at the railways bridge.

It would see more space allocated to cyclists and pedestrians underneath the narrow bridge, allowing them to socially distance.

It comes after the government granted councils money to implement such schemes, designed to encourage people out of their cars and to cycle or walk whilst the government advise against using public transport.

Cllr Rob Humby, deputy leader and executive member for economy, transport and environment at HCC said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has altered our views on how we live and how we travel. With more people cycling and walking, this is a critical time for us to decide how we want to move about in the future and seize the opportunities we have to shape a clean, healthy and sustainable transport future for Hampshire.

“We’ve already made some immediate changes across the county to traffic signals and signs, to give pedestrians more space and time. The next stage will be work on the ground to install physical measures which provide more space for safe social distancing.”

However, one ward councillor says that she is concerned that the proposals could increase traffic in other parts of the area.

Cllr Laura James (Basingstoke and Deane Independents, Norden) said: "I could see some potential benefits, but we have some concerns.

"If you think about it, if people are using that as an access to town, at the moment there is nowhere to store your bike and there is many people who have their bikes stolen from town.

"If that road is closed off then the traffic from the station would be using the side roads.

"It is only going to help a very small area. It might make it worse for everyone else in the ward."

The closure would mean that to access the station car parks, commuters would not be able to go from Victory roundabout, past the station and along Vyne Road, and instead would have to use back roads through South View, some of which are narrow and lined with parked cars, and Cllr James says that there is already an issue with the speed of cars on the road.

"I see the need for social distancing and we know [that road] is a problem.

"It is a bit late. We have been in this situation for a long time now and something should have been done much sooner.

"If you want to encourage people to cycle, many people in our ward don't own a bike.

"Maybe a better way of doing that is helping people to own a bike in the first place."

As well as the proposed scheme to Chapel Hill, HCC have also committed to alterations in Winchester, Romsey and Gosport.

At 166 pelican, puffin and toucan crossings across the county, the wait times have been reduced in favour of pedestrians.

And if there are any areas that you think need altering to facilitate cycling and walking, you can let HCC know where they are and what should be done.

Go to https://www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/hantscovidtravel and give your suggestions, where the council will prioritise those that fit the categories.