The shocking news that the Calne to Chippenham Cycle path is under threat, has led to an online petition against the move.
The North Wilts Rivers Route forms part of the national cycleway. It was developed in the early 1990's by the North Wiltshire District Council, Sustrans and other organisations. It is a 16km path linking Calne to Chippenham and is widely used by both cyclists and pedestrians.
The land it covers is owned by 8 different landowners who lease it to Wiltshire Council however, all the leases are due for renewal on 1st April 2019 and the non-renewal of the leases and consequent closure of the cycle-path has been approved by the Council's Corporate Leadership Team as part of the revenue savings plan for 2019/20.
By closing the route, £26k would be saved in maintenance costs.
The subject is now under consultation, which means the path should stay open until Spring 2020. At this stage Wiltshire Council are unable to comment on the viability of the path beyond this date.
The news of the impending closure hit social media last week and has caused anger amongst residents of both towns. The route is well used by runners, cyclists, dog walkers or just for a pleasant stroll. It is a vital link between the towns and is a safe route for children to cycle. Consequently, a petition has been created calling for the route to remain open. It has already been signed by over 3000 people.
The route is described on the ViewRanger website: 'The ride links the two handsome Wiltshire towns of Chippenham and Calne via a dismantled railway, neatly avoiding both the busy A4 and the hills either side of the valley formed by the River Marden. The attractive exit from Chippenham runs by the river and through parkland, with a brief zig-zag climb up onto the railway path. A wonderful, new, eccentric-looking bridge carries you safely over the A4 and through a wooded corridor to the outskirts of Calne. There are traces of the old Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal (now disused) alongside the path which leads right into the heart of Calne, once an important staging post on the A4 from Bristol to London.'
If you would like to sign it you can follow this link: PETITION
Calne News has approached Wiltshire Council for comment.