THE findings of a study into how to create a cycleway between Wellington and Taunton should be published by Christmas – five years after it was first commissioned.

Wellington Town Council agreed in 2018 to meet half the cost of a feasibility study on providing a cycle link with the county town using the A38 road.

The former borough council met the other half of the cost and when it was succeeded in 2019 by Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) the new councillors pledged a further £50,000.

But despite criticism from Taunton Area Cycling Campaign (TACC) and Citizens Somerset, which were allowed by SWT to become involved in managing the initiative, the study was never completed.

Now, Somerset Council, which in turn succeeded SWT earlier this year, has said the study will be published by Christmas.

But the scope has been widened and could include off-road routes such as using part of the National Cycle Network (NCN) which runs from the town centre in Taunton to Langford Budville.

The study should then form the basis of any bid by the unitary council for Government funding.

TACC chairman Mike Ginger said: “We urge the council to quickly complete the technical study so that we know its preferred option and so stakeholders can have their say.”

Citizens Somerset spokesman Chris Waddilove said: “It feels that the technical process is being allowed to drag on, therefore delaying the real work of drawing up a viable scheme and preparing for innovative funding bids.”

A Somerset Council spokesman denied the work was a ‘feasibility study for a cycle route’ and instead said a strategic outline business case (SOBC) was being prepared to determine the most viable solution to improve sustainable transport between Wellington and Taunton.

The spokesman said: “This work is required to evidence a case for investment, should central Government grants or other funding become available.

“The work has seen some delays, mostly due to internal consultation, but it is progressing and likely to be completed by late-December.

“The SOBC identifies multiple options for improving sustainable transport options between Wellington and Taunton.

“It will not explore who would be contracted to provide the route and/or options should funding later become available to deliver the improvements.”

Separately, a local cycling and walking infrastructure plan (LCWIP) for Wellington is also due to be completed before the end of the year.

The spokesman said: “Connectivity to Taunton will be noted as important for improving active travel for the region, but the Wellington LCWIP is geographically focused on Wellington only, so will not detail improvements outside of Wellington.”