THE first stage of a £3.4m transport scheme to support the growth of Gillingham is set to start in the new year.

Initial work, starting on January 13, will focus on improving pedestrian and cycle facilities between the town's Cemetery Road and Station Road.

This phase will take around five months, Dorset Council says, with other preparatory works including vegetation clearance and removal of some traffic islands.

Other elements of the project include enhancement of key junctions around the town, better cycle links to the railway station and funding of the design of the Enmore Green Link Road.

Money for the scheme was secured from the government's Local Growth Funding pot by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Jim Stewart, Dorset LEP chairman, said: “Introducing a cycle network in Gillingham will facilitate local growth sustainably, aligning Dorset Council’s new four-year plan and the infrastructure objectives outlined in Dorset LEP’s proposed Local Industrial Strategy.

"Dorset LEP has commenced and completed some fantastic projects using Local Growth Funding in 2019 which we will continue in 2020, funding Dorset projects that encourage economic growth, attract investment and increase productivity.”

Meanwhile, Dorset Council highways cabinet member Cllr Ray Bryan, said: "This scheme is a good start to a cycle network in Gillingham. With new housing developments planned in the town, it’s important to get the infrastructure ready for growth – both for vehicles and for sustainable transport.

“Linking residential areas to the train station will give commuters more choice about their travel options and, as we’ve seen in other parts of the county, providing safer cycling routes really does encourage people to change their travel habits.

“We’re doing our best to keep traffic flowing during the work but it is inevitable that journey times will be a bit longer, so please allow extra time for your journey wherever you can.”

Visit for further details.