A project in Stockbridge to make it safe for pupils to travel to school has received the backing of Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) councillors.

The Stockbridge Travel to School plan has been recommended for approval by the local authority’s cabinet, who have said £95,000 should be put towards the project from community infrastructure levy (CIL) funds.

It is intended to make it safer and easier for Old London Road users, and has previously received the backing of the parish council and the county council.

Cllr Tracey Johnston welcomed the project, saying it was “very much in line” with TVBC priorities.

CIL funds are a levy local authorities can place on new developments in their area. These funds can then be used for funding infrastructure projects for the local community.

TVBC currently has £2.116 million in its CIL fund, and had invited organisations to apply between April and June 2020. Each project is then assessed for a score out of 120 on a number of key issues, including proving evidence of need, the breadth of benefits and the mitigation of any negatives.

Only three bids were received in this round of bidding, which Cllr Nick Adams-King, the planning portfolio holder for TVBC, blamed on the pandemic.

He said: “We haven’t had many bids, as you’ll have noticed, due to the pandemic so that’s why we’re into a second exceptional bidding round at the moment.

“All of the bids have been assessed against the criteria, that being one we have used before when assessing CIL bids, and we’re recommending two projects from the first round, with further projects to be brought before council in June.”

The Stockbridge Travel to School Plan scored the highest of the projects, at 57 per cent of the total. It was described by TVBC as “A well evidenced project that has been supported and financially backed by both Stockbridge Parish Council and Hampshire County Council.

“The measures provide benefits to the intended users travelling to and from the School in addition to other pedestrians and cyclists that use the route.”

Cllr Tracey Johnston praised the plans, saying: “Stockbridge, as you know, is a very busy hub in Test Valley and measures to enhance the safety and wellbeing of residents, families and road users and also discourage bad driving behaviour is very much in line with our priorities.

“I welcome this recommendation.”

Also approved was plans to increase the usage of a Romsey museum, the King Johns House and Tudor Cottage. New gates and signage are to be erected to increase the museum’s visibility, which TVBC said would enhance an “under-utilised asset that would add to Romsey’s existing heritage draw.”

The proposal is the first of a longer-term plan for the site and this £36,500 in funding will also enable the other sources of finance to be applied for.

A plan to plant trees at Valley Park, however, was rejected, with the £82,150 cost deemed to be “not broad enough” to score highly, and that the project would “result in a loss of public open space in some instances.”

The recommendations of the report were subsequently passed by the cabinet without dissent, and will now go to full council for approval.