CAMPAIGNERS in Bradford on Avon say local councillors have just “one shot” at shifting the town towards low carbon and active travel.

They have pleaded with councillors to put pedestrians and cyclists first when coming up with recommendations for Wiltshire Council on how to reduce traffic and improve safety.

The call comes from green and active travel groups, who say that BoA’s recent Future of Transport consultation shows the local community still “strongly favours” pedestrian improvements above all and wants to reduce the impact of vehicle traffic.

Wiltshire Council was asked by town councillors to provide improvement options for them to consider following the six-week consultation, which some critics said was flawed.

But the unitary authority’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, has instead asked town councillors to put forward their recommendations on improvements.

A recent one-way system imposed for social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic proved highly divisive, with some for and against a permanent change in the direction of traffic flow.

Jeremy Wire, of Streets Ahead, is among the groups telling town councillors they “cannot” let BoA town centre be redesigned by highway engineers.

“Please focus instead on telling Wiltshire about the wider footways we need and where we want them, about the need for walkers to cross more freely and safely in more places, and about the need for cycling improvements such as cycle lanes on the main roads in town.

“Let them work out what traffic management measures are needed to support these requirements, such as speed limits, one-way sections, cycle lanes and traffic priority arrangements.”

Alongside Streets Ahead, an alliance of stakeholder groups in BoA, other groups backing the change include: Cycling UK’s Cycling Advocacy Network; British Cycling, the main national governing body for cycle sport; the local group for Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking; Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon; Wiltshire Climate Alliance; Bradford on Avon Green Party, and Bradford on Avon Extinction Rebellion.

They say the council should not decide between a one-way or two-way system, both of which are divisive, with strong supporters and people who will lose out.

“By focusing specifically on road space that needs to be given over to footways, you give Wiltshire a clear brief that challenges them to deal with the consequences.”

They say the strong mandates are for reduced traffic and cleaner air, not for an increase in exhaust emissions, speeding or reduced travel time.