Council backs Winchester Walking Strategy

A plan to encourage more walking in Winchester has won the support of the City Council.

The Winchester Walking Strategy has been produced by a cross-party group of councillors and representatives of local organisations interested in residents’ quality of life, the environment, economic vitality and the attractiveness of the city.

The City Council agreed to support the strategy at its Cabinet meeting in December 2014 as a way to encourage and improve walking across Winchester.

The group will work closely with Hampshire County Council, which has the main responsibility for transport and highways in Winchester. The new Strategy should assist this joint working to improve all forms of sustainable transport – including walking and cycling.

Winchester is one of the first local authorities to put forward a comprehensive plan to make walking safer and more attractive. There is evidence from many UK towns and cities that where provision for walking is improved pedestrian use increases as does economic activity.

The Group which put together the Strategy was chaired by Cllr Robert Hutchison, Chairman of the Winchester Town Forum, who said: “Winchester is a very compact place – in many ways ideal for walking – but a great deal needs to be done so that walking becomes the normal form of transport for short journeys in the town.

“A high priority should be given to creating safe and attractive routes for pedestrians, as well as cyclists, from Barton Farm into the town centre.”

Cllr Mike Southgate, Portfolio Holder for Communities & Transport, said: “Walking is good for you – that is well-known – and millions of us enjoy walking. Now Winchester City Council is putting its best foot forward and supporting this plan to encourage more walking in Winchester. This initiative sits alongside the promotion of cycling and other sustainable strategies to improve health and the environment.

“The strategy of embedding walking options within many of the things we do as a Council has to be sensible for our city and our district, acknowledging that the Council’s contribution will be proportionate to available staff, financial and other resources.”