A 3,700+ signature petition calling on South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) to abandon its plan to close Highwood Road to general traffic is to be presented to a top-level meeting of the Council in Kingswood next Wednesday (23rd May).
Launched in March by Patchway Town Councillor Chris Mills, the petition has been available to sign online and, in paper form, in shops and community centres throughout the town. The critical milestone of 2,500 signatures, required to secure a debate at Council, was reached at the end of April.
Following the presentation of the petition to Council next week, a formal debate on the matter must be held at the next Full Council meeting, currently scheduled for Wednesday 18th July.
Cllr Mills told The Journal:
“The response to the petition has exceeded our expectations. To have collected over 3,700 signatures with two weeks left to run is great. It shows the consultation SGC carried out was flawed and does not reflect the feelings of its residents.”
“The petition will be presented to SGC at its meeting on 23rd May; it’s important that residents attend this meeting and voice their concerns on the planned closure.”
“A small coach has been arranged to take people to this meeting. It will leave the Patchway Town Council office at 6pm.”
“Please ring 07720 669840 or 07975 890591 to book a place on the coach; the cost is £2 return.”
There is currently no official date for the closure of the road to general traffic but this cannot occur until a decision has been made on objections lodged to a traffic regulation order needed to legally implement the scheme. That decision is currently due to be made by Cllr Brian Allinson, SGC’s Executive Member for Planning Transport and Strategic Environment (PTSE), in June.
However, a proposed change to the way the Council is run after 23rd May is likely to see responsibility for the decision shift to the PTSE Committee, which has its next meeting on Wednesday 20th June.
Speaking at Patchway’s Annual Town Meeting earlier this month, SGC Councillor for Patchway Ward Sam Scott, a member of the PTSE Committee, said he plans to propose that the Committee defer its decision on the traffic regulation order until after the debate at the July meeting of Full Council.
But even if the road closure goes ahead, Cllr Scott says SGC has assured Patchway Town Councillors that it can be reversed.
Cllr Scott told the meeting:
“The decision can be reversed and, given that we have the signatures of over half the electorate of Patchway, they’d be fools not to listen. It will be a nail in the coffin of local democracy if they don’t.”
Cllr Mills, speaking at the same meeting, said:
“We need as many from Patchway as possible to go to Kingswood on 23rd May and clog the place up. We’ll present the petition and we want all of you behind us, shouting at ’em: ‘you can’t do this, you’re cutting Patchway in half’.”
“That’s what you have to do, because they have to listen to the people of Patchway.”
Related link: Highwood Road Linear Park (The Journal)