CALLS for funding for cycle schemes in the Weymouth and other Dorset areas have been made.
It comes following a project for two-way cycle lanes, separated from traffic, in the Wimborne area, won Government funding.
Weymouth councillor Brian Heatley said he was jealous of the project, which is paid for by the Government’s “Transforming Cities” scheme and offered jointly by Dorset Council and the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council, but only in the south east of the area.
He told a Dorset Council meeting on Tuesday that he hoped the Government would be able to find extra funding for similar work in Weymouth and other local areas.
His call was backed by Cllr David Tooke who said that talks had begun in his area about the possibility of using an old rail line to create a walking and cycle route from Alderholt to Wimborne and towards the Salisbury area.
Sherborne councillor Jon Andrews said he too would be been keen to see extra Government funding to promote cycling in his town although acknowledged that with narrow streets it might be difficult to achieve traffic-free cycle routes.
The Wimborne scheme, along Leigh Road and Wimborne Road West at Colehill is already working well – according to Dorset highways portfolio holder Cllr Ray Bryan.
But he has admitted that Dorset Council could have done more to explain why the scheme is needed.
“When we started it people didn’t understand what we wanted to achieve,” he told the Dorset place and resources scrutiny committee.
He said that everyone would be helped by the project – encouraging residents to cycle in safety and, in turn, keep more cars off the road, cutting down on pollution.
The current joint Dorset-BCP work is expected to be completed by March 2023.
Cllr Bryan said that over recent months he had personally seen an increase in the number of people cycling on the route and believed there would be more as the weather improved.
As part of the Wimborne and Colehill project electric rental Beryl Bikes, already in use in the BCP area, will be extended to Wimborne, Ferndown and Colehill. It is hoped to have the bikes in place before the cycle lane works are completed.
Cllr Heatley said the scheme, which also offers electric scooters, would also be welcome in Weymouth although he was told that, for the moment, it could not be extended and scooter hire remained limited to trial areas only.