A NEW pop-up cycle path on the A420 has left Chippenham Town FC worried over parking for its supporters come matchday.

The club was not consulted and says only ‘a few local residents’ were.

They fear the Bristol Road cycle path, build with government funding, would block 30 to 40 cars from attending home fixtures, as normally they would park on the opposite side of the road. The cycleway means it is too narrow now to allow safe parking.

Wil Hulbert, the club’s press officer, said: “Some people will be put off if they cannot walk very far.

“I guess people in the nearby streets will be pretty miffed with the extra parking that will obviously occur down those side streets from people who cannot park down Bristol Road.”

Mr Hulbert felt it could leave some fans walking quite a distance for a game, which during the winter months may put off visitors to Hardenhuish Park.

Residents worried about the pop-up cycleway voiced their concerns on Facebook.

Rachel Ryan said: “It makes turning into Park Avenue on your bike much more challenging.”

Billy Wheeler said: “Where are vehicles going to park now when football is on, and why couldn’t they use the cycle path that already exists.”

A common concern voiced by both the club and residents was of the path being one-way, meaning cyclists can get into town, but can not make the return journey using the same route.

Cllr David Powell, who represents the Hardenhuish ward, said he believes Wiltshire Council was ‘probably unaware’ of an existing cycleway through the adjacent Donkey Field.

“This project shows the remoteness of Wiltshire Council, not bothering to make a couple of phone calls to local councillors who actually know the area,” he said.

“This cycleway is going to cause real problems to the footballing and local residents on match days.”

Cllr Melody Thompson, who also represents the ward, has spoken to Chippenham Town ‘at length’ about the cycleway and shares the same concerns.

She said: “I am disappointed that this scheme has been implemented in this way but I am assured by officers that the council will take all feedback into consideration before making a decision at the end of the six-month trial.”

Cllr Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways, said: “We recognise that this project and some others will see some on-street parking being removed, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused, but DfT advice acknowledges this and does not see it as reason not to implement segregated cycling routes.

“In terms of football parking, matchday parking is still available for supporters in close proximity to the ground, including space provided at Sheldon School.

“The Donkey Fields path is not suitable for commuting cyclists.”

The club played their first game of the pre-season against on August 11 against Fairford Town and said that all games, at present, will be played behind closed doors.