Highwood Road decison referred to Full Council

New bus-only lane under construction on Highwood Road, Patchway.

The petition to keep Patchway’s Highwood Road open to general traffic suffered a setback at last month’s meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment (PTSE) Committee, which decided to endorse an officer recommendation to close the road, albeit for a trial period of 18 months.

However, there remains hope amongst the petition’s proponents that it may still succeed, after Labour Councillors invoked a constitutional mechanism to suspend the decision and refer it for consideration at the next meeting of SGC’s Full Council on Wednesday 18th July.

In a report prepared prior to the PTSE Committee meeting, SGC’s officers had recommended that the road closure go ahead as originally planned but be subject to a review after five years. In a further concession to the petitioners, the recommended trial period was reduced to 18 months prior to the Committee debate.

In a surprise move, Patchway Town and SGC Councillor Brian Hopkinson (Conservative), who is not a member of the Committee, exercised his right to speak at the meeting. He claimed that the wording of the petition had been misleading and said that rat running had been a problem in Patchway for many years and would continue to occur, even if Highwood Road remained open as a single carriageway.

When it came to a vote, Councillors on the 13-strong Committee split along party lines, with six Conservatives and four Liberal Democrats voting “for” closure of the road (for a trial period of 18 months) and the three Labour Councillors (two from Patchway and one from Filton) voting “against”.

Immediately after the vote, Cllr Roger Hutchinson (Labour, Filton) exercised his constitutional right as Labour Lead on the Committee to “suspend” the decision and refer it to Full Council.

Speaking to The Journal after the meeting, Cllr Hopkinson admitted he had been against the proposed closure of Highwood Road when it was discussed at a public meeting in 2008 but said he could only support the road remaining open as a dual carriageway, which is not an option currently on the table. He claimed that the petition was being driven forward by “new” Labour Town Councillors and that some of their more long-standing party colleagues had previously supported the closure.

In a press release put out by SGC after the meeting, Committee Chair Cllr Pat Hockey said:

“These plans were agreed in 2002 after several workshops and exhibitions. At that time local people appeared to welcome the opportunity to put an end to traffic heading for The Mall cutting through Patchway.”

“The general view was that the new development should be part of Patchway and not grow as a separate community. Shared facilities such as the library should bring the new and longer standing residents together. Instead of a busy intrusive road a pleasant open area is planned for people to enjoy. The closure of Highwood Road to general traffic is a key part of achieving this.”

“The Council appreciates that local people now feel that these proposals will cause problems for them that far outweigh the benefits. For this reason the final decision has been referred for the Full Council to make in July.”

Patchway Labour Party gave the following statement to The Journal:

“We would like to thank the 4,000+ residents of Patchway who have caused a re-think of the bizarre and ill-thought out proposal to close Highwood Road.”

“At the PTSE Committee this Wednesday councillors were presented with the choice of closing the road, or a trial closure for 18 months (this was a last minute recommendation), or to listen to the residents of Patchway and keep the road open.”

“Whilst the committee voted for the second option, we are grateful that Labour Councillors representing Filton and Patchway have moved that the Full Council should make the decision as to whether Highwood Road becomes a bus lane or not.”

“This gives another four weeks for all Councillors to hear the case that we support, that the road should remain open to integrate the new and existing communities of Patchway and promote local economic growth in small and medium size Patchway businesses.”

“It is important to state that no matter what the outcome, the re-think of the decision and the proposed recommended change from closure to trial closure is a significant step and proof that your local South Gloucestershire Labour Councillors are standing up for local residents unlike the previous SGC Liberal-Democrat incumbents who let this pass.”

“We are however disappointed that not all Patchway Councillors could support the 1,000’s of residents who signed the petition.”

The decisive meeting of SGC’s Full Council meeting takes place on Wednesday 18th July at Kingswood Civic Centre, starting at 7:30pm.

Related link: Highwood Road Linear Park (The Journal)

Demonstration against the impending closure of Highwood Road.

Photo: Protesters campaigning in March to keep Highwood Road open.


  1. Think it will stay open to traffic for only buses and bikes which is a good thing for the people that live by the road ,also its not the Councils land its Bovis land for them to do with how they want doesnt matter what anyone else thinks.This protest should have been started right after the meetings that took place not 3/4 years later at the time most people were all for it .

  2. Is that the same Brian Hopkinson who signed the petition on the SGC website (number 525 below Sarah Pomfret number 524) was he forced to type his name or did he not read the petition first?

    How does he stand on the closure of Shellmor, as deputy Mayor of Bradley he should be opposed to it or is he out of step with them as well?

    This man Flip Flops he way through politics, support it, oppose it, support it!!!!

    please make up your mind,

  3. @Happy – It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks?? Really? What price democracy eh, sold to the highest paying housebuilder?

    As for Hoppy Hopkinson, thanks for the heads up Anon.

    How many times have we to say this old decision is now seriously flawed by the massive circumstantial change of the regrettable airfield sale for housing, doesn’t 10,000 houses and what, 20,000 cars arriving in the area mean we are going to need all our roads open, along with more in and out roads that are probably pre-planned looking at the new roundabouts with mystery exits into the airfield.

    Patchway and North Fringe people should check out what their saying all around us, Henbury Conservatives last leaflet was all about them not having the extra traffic dumped on them when the airfields gone, supported by Charlotte Leslie their MP, they all said what a shame about the Airfield but did nothing to save it, at the behest of our MP Jack Lopresti who supports Bovis and Housebuilders, £625,000 donation to the Tory party buys you a lot of friends.

    It makes me laugh you all go on about the lost of the Airfield which is nothing at all to do with us (its BAE Land )but if its not used for houses and retail what in the hell is it going to be used for other than those things because any thing to do with it being an Airport that is going to be all gone (so you all think it should just be a nice Village green rather than get it used when there is a much need for homes do you .)this land is not green belt its brown so thats good isnt it .The police and Ambulance will still have there place on the Airfield also they will have a piece of land for the Concorde to have a visitor Center built.Yes i know the roads have to be right for it all but they will be doing that, we have the Motorway and train Station not far what better than that.There will always be people that moan all the time cant do anything about that .

  5. I note that ANGRY has the same email address as HAPPY.

    Readers are requested to use a consistent username when making multiple comments on a story.

  6. Hmmm Happy is Angry and Angry is Happy?

    Interesting. I was Snow White in a Cub Scout musical once! No Dopey jokes please.

    Well, you’ve had your say in many many guises, I know what you think and you know what I think.

    I believe the Airfield should remain for manufacturing and maintenance and the long term airfield strategy the Govt. are reviewing only next year, but you know that, you’ve been following this story long enough and giving your alternative views which you are fully entitled to.

    We now await the debate at SGC on Wednesday week for their next decision on the roads here, seats on the mini bus going over are available if you want to see local democracy in action, or not as the case may be.

  7. When these plans were first mooted it was all done very quietly. we live in Bradley Stoke and knew nothing of these proposals. as work has carried onit became obvious what was going on but we still had to really dig to find the relevent info. I cant believe that the council could be so stupid as to endorse the redirection of a main route theough two housing developments. this will prove most dangerous for the residents on the diverted routes and for families in parchway. Even if the proposed traffic calming measures are put in. when these routes become gridlocked around christmas (as usually happens) because of this madness the local residents will have to put up with pollution as well as not being able to get in Nd out of their neighbourhoods.

    When will these stupid councillors wake up and realise that they cannot and should not try and force people out of their cars.

  8. Sorry Editor(feel like a child being told off) but i was Angry at the time i wrote my comment didnt realise my Mistake wont happen again .But i still go by what i wrote these plans were told to everyone many years ago about what was going to be done to Highwood road ,so anyone saying they didnt have a clue what was going on is telling a few little white lies i think.and its patchway NOT parchway,and it DOESNT get grid locked around christmas anymore .

  9. Anonpatchway – same guy who sits on both Patchway and Bradley
    Stoke councils so where is his allegiance? Why need to be on both councils?
    Let’s face it these people are meddlers who run with the hare and hounds but mostly with their mates.
    How can you trust them to represent you?

  10. The Highwood Road issue has duly appeared on the agenda for the SGC Full Council meeting on 18th July.

    Cllr Roger Hutchinson (Labour, Filton) as the lead member who referred the matter to Council from the PTSE Committee, will start the member debate on Highwood Road.

    Also of interest on the agenda are a number of written questions from (former executive) Conservative Cllrs Brian Allinson and Colin Hunt asking, for example, why the Labour Group did not make representations against the proposed closure of Highwood Road at the consultation stage in 2010.

  11. It appears that a group of local councillors are trying to make this a party political issue, I started this petition as a resident of Patchway, I address the public meeting as a resident of Patchway, this is not about what one group is doing, this about Patchway residents and the district council listening to its tax payers, I have not asked the Town council to vote on this issue, or raised it at any Labour forums, yes the local Labour branch have supported the coach, but it any other group or party would like to help please feel free, the Labour name or logo does not appear on any paperwork connected with the petition.

    This is a resident driven petition and up until now it has received support from across Patchway.

    Chris Mills Patchway resident

  12. The Consultations with residents where under way before 2010 we had a few meetings with Bovis to voice our concerns and rightly so ,some people did just that but as i have said at the time it was only a handfall of people.WHERE were the 4000 plus then!!!

  13. Hmmm

    Yes I see the ranks are closing now, I fear they will treat this decision just like they did the airfield, and just vote down party lines, irrespective of personal beliefs or views.

    I’m told certain senior figures mentioned know this is now flawed, but as previously, won’t go on record or vote outside party lines or whips.

    If this is how it’s always going to be one wonders if there’s a point in seeking democracy where clearly none can exist without the oxygen of freedom of speech.

    Love him or hate him but at least Ben Walker broke ranks.

    Happy/Angry/Lolly whoever, people don’t react until things affect them directly, that’s modern life, you are clearly not apathetic as you react to every story going, that’s not a criticism, at least you take an interest in what’s going on around you, but surely the views of these 4,000 people shouldn’t be ignored now?

    They’ve been let down by previous councils, and we are being fingered as responsible too. There is evidence of concern documented, but no more.

    If they are ignored then that ties in with the modern view of most things, why bother, it’s a done deal, and as I said above, leading to the view that there truly is no point unless you are on the ‘right side’ of the majority holders in this council in the first place, who express sympathy privately before they vote against you publicly.

  14. Could someone who was at the SGC Full Council meeting tonight please let us know the outcome of the Highwood Road debate? Thanks.

  15. The Empire State Building was completed in 410 days and that was from the design stage. The work on Highwood Lane has seemed to be going on for years! When was the last time anyone saw a contractor doing work? That is apart from the traffic-light men taking away the ‘Except Buses’ signs on the lights. When the workmen were there, they started before 7am and seemed to make as much noise as possible. The problem with the petition is that the people who want the original proposed work completed are not able to voice their concerns. The dual carriage way has always been busy. Christmas is a nightmare. Although the road is (was) 40mph it was a meeca for boy racers and a shortcut for HGVs during the night . The current situation sees two way traffic on the side of the road nearest the existing houses. This means that both directions of traffic are closer and hence more noisy. This is far worse than the original dual carriageway. While the original proposal did come as a stock, this is progress and the sooner it becomes a safe bus and cycle route the better. But information is short and in the meantime most of the residents of Patchway (including myself) not know whats going on.

  16. Having lived in Patchway for nearly 30 years – when the only supermarket at Cribbs was Carrefour and Toys R’Us was still a field – I have experienced the development of the shopping centre and the traffic it has created, particularly over pre-Christmas weekends. This culminated a few years ago when cars were parked along the verges of Coniston Road, & not being able to get off “the estate”. The opening of Hayes Way has certainly reduced the level of traffic along Highwood Lane, not withstanding the ongoign roadworks. This reduction has been helped by the judicious use of traffic signage which encourages traffic away from Highwood Lane. I am personally behind the closure of Highwood Lane – I think the idea of Coniston Road (& adjacent roads) becoming a rat run are unfounded.
    When the airfield area is developed, do people not think that the road network will be further enhanced? I believe that Hayes Way will be a ‘northern perimeter road’ to the new zone. There will be links from both Cribbs Causeway (off the roundabout at the Henbury end, a trough link to Gloucester Road, with a junction in the vicinity of the eastern threshold of the runway and a link from Golf Course Lane for access from Southmead Road.

    Our part of Patchway will be an oasis in the growing greater Bristol, and the more traffic we can discourage, the better.

  17. @Sleepness

    Yes it has taken an age, and still is, it’s a waste of time asking for a finish date, when I last asked Marie Kanayan SGC Engineer on it she was hopeful of May based on good weather and the contractors…

  18. @Canary135

    Oh sure, but whilst I’m not totally resigned to the inevitable when you note the roundabouts have had exits onto the airfield all along then its easy to believe it was a done deal, I hear Bovis contributed £625K to the Tory Party – That’s gotta help if it’s true?

    Interesting to note opposition in other areas actually driven by the Tories tho’ for a change, the Spring In Touch Leaflet for Henbury and Brentry features Charlotte Leslie MP along with local councillors Chris Windows and Mark Weston, expressing the following concerns in the following extracts…

    “There should be no through road from the site to Charlton Road. This would create a Brentry rat run that would cause massive congestion in the area. The site should be configured so that the traffic flows north towards Cribbs Causeway or the A38. We are deeply concerned about the impact 10,000 new cars could have on local roads.”

    They also appear to have a petition running, no link there tho’.

    Charlotte Leslie has her critics, but does seem more involved with residents concerns, whereas Jack Lopresti just seems to do photo shoots with local businesses. I can’t recall a Lopresti comment on these issues.

  19. Soooo its now August and the roads still open to traffic and no information to be found on what the hell is going on. I find the entire thing a complete farce and a huge waste of money highwood road was fine as it was!. Why fix something that isn’t broke?

  20. I have heard through the grapevine that the road will be closed on 5th October. If this true. Has the Mall put pressure on SGC to keep it open so long, or have Bovis finally paid the bill for all the changes to Highwood Road.

  21. Latest ‘rumour’ is the 15th now, was meant to be the 8th last we heard, there may be an announcement on SGC website with info on Oct 1st.

    Who knows why, we are surrounded by SGC incompetence and bad decisions, along with Bovis buying roads to suit their plans.

    As it develops it becomes more and more apparent why Bovis ‘bought’ the road, I find it incredible, I can’t believe it as I drive down that it will be closed for so little good reason, but it’s common knowledge how I feel, and my disillusion that 4000 protesters views count for nothing.

    Patchway has been let down by previous councils sleepwalking into this, and SGC being bought off to comply with builders whims. Incredible. Crazy.

    No matter what comments may say, no one will persuade me otherwise. Pointless.

  22. They’ve closed the access junction to BayTree from Highwood Lane so the closure will probably be soon. I’m not looking forward to going around Coniston Road to get to Bradley Stoke, but there you go. Or perhaps I am supposed to go via Hayes Way? Either way does not make sense to me, but then I’m not a town councillor so perhaps it’s beyond my commoners comprehension (Chris not included!)

  23. I’m a town councillor, and a commoner, and its beyond mine too sorry.

    Enough’s been said by us, but this is an old decision by old councils here that we as newbies with Chris and 4000 people couldn’t reverse.

    I could blame the Old SGC Liberals here in particular who slept while this was going on, or the SGC Stoke Lodge Tory Two who supported the petition but voted to close it at SGC, but its all been said.


  24. It’s a shame the Monster Raving Loonies are not active around here – they make more sensible decisions than those clowns that ‘run’ the SGC!

  25. I have been a daily user (commuter) of Highwood Road for many years and for the last few months decided to try Hayes Way as an alternative route on the basis that at some point Highwood Road would be closed.

    Findings: The Mall to A38, travel generally OK. A38 to The Mall (turning right from A38) really poor with up to two minutes wait (seems like a lifetime). They really have got the traffic management system wrong here. Watch out for the next few months when everyone has to go this way !!!!

    Why is it that drivers who travel from The Mall and will eventually turn right (towards Filton) drive the whole length of Hayes Way in the right hand lane (what is that all about !!!)

    40 MPH ??? – for most this appears to be the minimum speed limit not the maximum, we now have the latest race track in the area, nice one SGC, Bovis or whoever

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