Mill Lane in Swindon will close to motor vehicles this year

A NARROW road notorious for stuck lorries will finally be closed to motor vehicles this year.

Mill Lane connects Old Town to the new development at Wichelstowe, running from Westlecot Road to Peglars Way by the Waitrose supermarket.

Part of the original planning permission to build the Wichelstowe expansion mandated the road’s closure. The suburban road becomes a small, twisting and narrow country lane – barely wider than a single carriageway and with a difficult hill to negotiate.

Traffic on that hill also must get through a narrow railway bridge no higher than 9.9 metres on a sharp bend. Lorries, guided by sat nav to the new development, found themselves trapped.

Swindon Borough Council will soon be issuing a closure notice.

A spokesman for the authority said: “The council has agreed with the developers the detail of the works required to close the road to motor vehicles.

“While an exact date for the works to start is still to be finalised, notice of the introduction of the legal order is expected by early May 2021.”

The plan is to allow the route to be open for those on foot and bicycle to create a safe, pleasant and traffic-free route between Wichelstowe and town.

The council’s cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, transport and planning Gary Sumner said: “The closure of Mill Lane formed part of the original planning consent for Wichelstowe and with the recent expansion of the development it is entirely appropriate that we now close it to through traffic.

“By closing Mill Lane we will create a new ‘green route’ for pedestrians and cyclists between Old Town and Wichelstowe, which I am sure will be popular with local residents.

“We are trying to promote sustainable travel where possible and this will give cyclists and pedestrians a safer and much more attractive journey.”

Residents are pleased having waited years for the closure to take place.

Alex Pope, who lives in Mill Lane, said: “The road is becoming really dangerous now – there’s too much traffic and it’s travelling too fast and lorries continue to get stuck by the bridge.

“It still feels like we’re being a bit cut off from town, built for residents below the bridge I think this is the best solution to the situation in the circumstances.”

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