Wichelstowe to Swindon town centre Quality Bus Corridor
The Transport Planning team presented three options in autumn 2016 for the Old Town district to support the delivery of a quality bus corridor between Wichelstowe and Swindon town centre. A second round of public consultation showing preliminary options for Old Town as well introducing proposals for Mannington junction was held last December. A third phase of public consultation took place in February 2017, presenting proposals for the whole route between Wichelstowe to Swindon town centre.
The outcome of the third round of public consultation was limited support for the proposals in Old Town. A further phase of consultation took place in June 2017 on the highway changes proposed at the Regent Circus Bus Interchange (please see Round 4 Regent Circus Bus Interchange below for further details).
The proposal will provide a link between Wichelstowe and Swindon town centre and seeks to meet the following criteria:
– A branded bus service with localised traffic priority measures to enable a competitive and reliable journey time.
– A high quality of customer service including the provision of real time information and Wi-Fi.
– A high frequency timetable, utilised by a modern accessible bus fleet, calling at a limited number of stops on route.
Funding for this scheme has been allocated from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.
First round of consultation, September-October 2016:
The three proposals were at a concept stage and at this first phase of consultation – we were seeking views on preferred option/s before commencing with more detailed investigation. The proposals explored the options for delivering improvements in Old Town where the proposed route experiences the greatest number of challenges.
In summary Option 1 proposed signal controlled highway movements; Option 2 reflected a greater emphasis on public realm, shared space (also referred to as less engineered space) and Option 3 explored alternative ways of utilising the existing highway network in this area including the use of bus gates and one-way systems. The feedback from this round of consultation suggested Option 1 was the least preferred proposal.
Second round of consultation, December 2016:
A second phase of public consultation consisting of more detailed plans took place in early December 2016. There were three preliminary options for Old Town and two options for Mannington roundabout/Wootton Bassett Road. Options 1 and 3 were least preferred, which involved respective bus priority measures on High Street (Option 1) and Devizes Road (Option 3).
Third round of consultation, February – March 2017:
Following the feedback received from the options shown in December 2016, a further round of public consultation took place in February- March 2017, including a series of public consultation events in late February.
This phase of consultation presented a scheme for the whole route from Wichelstowe to Swindon town centre, with proposed works for Pipers Way, Old Town and Mannington junction.
Round 4 – Regent Circus Bus Interchange (June 2017)
A key part of the proposal for Regent Circus is a bus lane will run continuously from the eastern end of Commercial Road to Princes Street through the rationalisation of the highway layout in this area. In addition, there will also be enhanced facilities for bus passengers and improvements for pedestrians through the widening of footways, which can be found on this plan outlining the changes proposed at Regent Circus.
Swindon Borough Council’s Transport Planning team held informal public consultation sessions for this scheme in mid-June and offered the opportunity to look at the proposals, discuss the changes and make any comments.
As well as forming part of the Quality Bus Corridor between Wichelstowe and Swindon town centre via Old Town and Mannington, this will also benefit users of the wider bus network in Swindon. The broader town centre regeneration policy set out in Central Area Action Plan (February 2009) recognised the role Regent Circus can play in supporting the town centre. Its location at the juncture of Old Town and Swindon town centre makes it an ideal location for a welcoming gateway space that accommodates a bus interchange and improved facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and taxi users.