Posts Tagged ‘Highwood Road’

Views sought on highway improvement measures proposed for Coniston Road area

Posted on Friday 19th September 2014 at 10:17 pm by SH (Editor)

20mph zone sign.

Patchway residents are being invited to have their say on a raft of proposed highway improvement measures that would affect a wide area of the town that includes the full length of Coniston Road and many of the road leading off it.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) is running a public consultation on the proposals, which have come out of a review of the “remaining traffic issues” in the Patchway area, following its decision, last October, to keep Highwood Road permanently closed to general traffic.

The aim of the proposals would be targeted at reducing traffic speeds (in those locations currently without 20 mph restrictions or traffic calming), improving vehicular access and improving road safety at junctions. There are also proposals to introduce limited waiting parking on Rodway Road, to improve access to shops and the medical centre.

The schemes are due to be implemented within the current financial year (2014/15), and are subject to sufficient support from local business and residents, and comments received at a future formal consultation on the necessary traffic regulation orders.

Drawings showing the proposals are available online on a dedicated consultation page on the SGC website. They can also be viewed at the Patchway Town Council offices in Rodway Road or at Patchway Library during normal opening hours.

Patchway’s Labour councillors unsuccessfully campaigned for Highwood Road to be re-opened to general traffic following an 18-month “experimental closure” that began in October 2012. They are encouraging local people to continue their ongoing battle for traffic improvements in Patchway by taking part in the consultation on proposals for the Coniston Road area, which they say has become a rat-run following the closure of Highwood Road.

More: "We want the most appropriate measures introduced," say cllrs »

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Highwood Road to remain closed; traffic review promised for rest of town

Posted on Thursday 17th October 2013 at 1:12 pm by SH (Editor)

 SGC meeting to discuss closure of Highwood Road, Patchway. Overflow hall.

The “experimental” closure of Highwood Road to general traffic will be made permanent following a fractious meeting of South Gloucestershie councilors at Patchway Community College last night (16th October).

Around 500 members of the public packed into the main hall at the school with a further 200 listening via an audio link in a smaller, adjacent hall.

A report produced by council officers ahead of the meeting stated that re-opening the road to general traffic would put at risk millions of pounds of government funding for the North Fringe to Hengrove bus rapid transit scheme (now being marketed under the MetroBus banner) that will link Cribbs Causeway with Bristol city centre and South Bristol. Officers also stated that allowing the MetroBus to share the road with general trafic would lead to a fall in passenger numbers and a consequent increase in traffic congestion.

Around twenty members of the public made use of their right to address the meeting, each for up to five minutes. First up was Patchway town councillor Dave Tiley, speaking on behalf of Mayor Chris Mills, who was unable to attend. He described South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) 18-month experimental closure of the road as a “sham” used to “cycnically placate” concerned residents.

Other speakers repeated counter arguments that have been widely aired by hundreds of Patchway residents over the last couple of years, which can be broadly categorised as: increased traffic on Coniston Road; rat runs on smaller roads throughout Patchway and extra journey lengths for people living in the ‘birds and trees’ roads.

Two members of the public spoke in favour of the closure: Dave Redgewell of  the South West Transport Alliance and a cyclist from Stoke Gifford, the latter claiming that other people in favour of keeping the road opened hadn’t attended the meeting “for fear of being lynched”.

After two hours of public contributions, it was over to councillors to start their debate. Patchway district and town councillor Sam Scott proposed that the traffic regulation orders be “extinguished”, allowing the road to be re-opened to general traffic. An hour of debate followed in which opinions were split clearly along party lines: support from Labour (plus the sole UKIP councillor) and opposition from the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

More: Public unrest as outcome of vote became apparent »

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Highwood Road: Councillors told to ignore financial implications of re-opening

Posted on Wednesday 9th October 2013 at 7:30 am by SH (Editor)

"Road ahead closed" sign on Highwood Road, Patchway.

In what appears to be a significant about-turn in policy, South Gloucestershire councillors who will meet next Wednesday (16th October) to decide whether to make permanent the “experimental” closure of Highwood Road to general traffic, have been told to base their decision only on “relevant transport considerations” and to take no account of the potential cost to the council.

A report prepared ahead of the meeting, which takes place at Patchway Community College (7pm start), warns that the consideration of irrelevant factors could expose the council’s decision to a challenge by judicial review.

Previous reports on the matter, presented in June 2012 and September 2013, have given considerable weight to estimated costs of around £1.25 million that the council’s officers say would be incurred in the event that the road is re-opened to general traffic.

The latest report also puts less emphasis on the risk that the government might fail to confirm approval for the £102 million North Fringe to Hengrove bus rapid transit scheme, should the road be re-opened. Instead, it quantifies the potential fall in projected passenger numbers on the bus rapid transit scheme that would result from Highwood Road being re-opened at between 7% and 10% (for the Cribbs Causeway to Bradley Stoke section of the route). This would make the scheme less attractive to bus operators and the reduction in passenger numbers would lead to traffic congestion, claims the report’s author Steve Evans, South Gloucestershire Council’s Director of Environment & Communities.

An appendix to the report reveals that an independent traffic survey commissioned by the council has confirmed previous findings that levels of traffic on Coniston Road have not increased significantly compared to those recorded in 2008/9 (i.e. before the opening of Hayes Way), although the same data also shows that levels have increased by 41% since January 2012 (prior to the closing of Highwood Road).

A petition started by Patchway Mayor Chris Mills, calling for Highwood Road to be re-opened to non-commercial general traffic, had attracted 1,069 online signatures at the time this article was published.

More info: Agenda and reports for the council meeting on 16th October

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Permanent closure of Highwood Road recommended by council officers

Posted on Friday 30th August 2013 at 9:28 am by SH (Editor)

Public meeting called to discuss the closure of Highwood Road, Patchway.

A report produced by officers of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) ahead of a crucial committee meeting next week has recommended that the “experimental” closure of Highwood Road to general traffic be made permanent without further consultation.

The recommendation is made despite the latest public consultation on the closure showing that 89% of 221 respondents were against the scheme.

The news comes just over a year after a 4,137 signature petition calling for the road closure to be abandoned was rejected by a meeting of SGC’s Full Council.

The strength of opposition to the closure from the Patchway public was further demonstrated last week when an estimated 200 to 300 people attended a public meeting called by Chris Jenner, the community development worker for the town. That meeting was originally planned to take place in the cafe at Coniston Community Centre, but was transferred to the square at the nearby Parade shops because the numbers attending were so great (see photo above).

Many people at that meeting complained about increased traffic levels on Coniston Road since Highwood Road was closed in October last year. Other concerns raised include the number of HGVs travelling along Coniston Road and a perceived increase in accidents and near-misses.

In their latest report, officers argue that the volume of traffic using Coniston Road is actually no higher than the pre-closure situation that existed in 2008 (i.e. prior to the opening of Hayes Way, which provides an alternative route between Gloucester road and Cribbs Causeway), although the same set of data does show a 48% increase in traffic between January 2012 (after Hayes Way opening but before Highwood Road closure) and July 2013. They also note that national design guidelines suggest that the road could cope with flows more than four times present levels.

The report says there has been no significant increase in recorded accidents on Coniston Road. There is, however, no data relating to the number of HGVs using the route.

Officers warn that reversing the closure would cost the council up to £1.25 million and jeopardise government funding for the North Fringe to Hengrove bus rapid transit scheme, which is foreseen to utilise the current bus-only link along Highwood Road.

More: Convoy of vehicles will head for crucial council meeting »

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