IMPROVEMENTS to footpaths and cycle routes between Worthy Down and South Wonston have been given the green light.

Hampshire County Council has agreed the £319,000 scheme will link existing footpaths and improve pedestrian access to South Wonston Primary School.

County councillor for the Winchester Downlands division, Jan Warwick, is "really pleased" with the approva, which was given after several months of planning.

"Upgrading works for the new cycle route will take place over the next few weeks," she said.

"There are some nice touches planned such as the wildflower planting and new pond with a publicly accessible bird hide too. More work will be needed by Hampshire Highways as the route reaches the Andover Rd.

"They will create an interim cycle path into Winchester. This will eventually join the cycle route via Kings Barton."

In addition the Countryside team will be carrying out some improvement work on the South Wonston Primary School Park and Stride route and this should help alleviate parking on Downs Road in South Wonston.

At his decision day meeting on Friday, Cllr Edward Heron, executive member for recreation, heritage, countryside and rural affairs, said: “I am delighted to approve this funding for the delivery of improved walking and cycle routes between Worthy Down and South Wonston. It includes plans for a Park & Stride site that will make it easier for the parents, pupils and staff of South Wonston School to walk to school safely, as well as the aim to create a new bridleway, alongside habitats for wildflowers and wildlife. This is a welcome package of improvements that will link new housing developments more effectively with existing communities.”

The improvements will be funded through Section 106 contributions from the Worthy Down development and will include:

• Upgrades to existing footpaths to provide better ‘off-road’ walking and cycling routes;

• The provision of a ‘Park & Stride’ route from the pavilion car park to the school;

• The creation of a new section of designated bridleway;

• Creation of new wildlife habitats including a new pond and bird hide.

The works are expected to be completed by late November 2021.