MEMBERS of a cycling group are calling on the council to create a series of pop-up walking and cycling spaces around Taunton.

Taunton Area Cycling Campaign's (TACC) Mike Ginger believes a number of sections of highway could be given over to cyclists and walkers during the current coronavirus restrictions.

During a period of reduced traffic on our roads, Mr Ginger has called on Somerset County Council to look into releasing more space in at least three locations.

He has written to County Hall suggesting pop-up facilities at Fore Street and East Reach; Wellington Road from the Bishop's Hull roundabout to County Hall; and Cheddon Road and Station Road.

Mr Ginger said the benefits would include easing social distancing; encouraging people to cycle more and leave their cars at home; improving the experience for leisure and commuter cyclists; improving people's health; keeping cyclists off pavements; and creating safe spaces.

In a letter to the council, he said: "You will be aware of the work of several councils in England to create pop-up spaces for walking and cycling during this period of reduced motor vehicle traffic and of social distancing.

"You will know that the Department for Transport has relaxed the advertising rules for experimental traffic regulation orders.

"We in TACC would like to propose that you, too, make the most of this opportunity."

A council spokesman said: "There have been further announcements of funding from the DfT.

"Although we are still awaiting full details of what this will mean for Somerset, we will be looking to address the immediate concerns of maintaining safe and socially distanced walking and cycling as well as encouraging longer term behaviour change and active travel modal shift.

"This opportunity will not be without challenges, and we will be working with TACC and the wider community to consider what might be possible and the impacts of any changes.

"We will also be reviewing the Taunton Local Cycling and Walking Implementation Plan."