MP looking to end Bradford on Avon congestion problems

PLANS to tackle Bradford on Avon’s ongoing traffic congestion issues have begun in earnest following a discussion in the House of Commons last week.

On December 10, Bradford on Avon’s MP Michelle Donelan raised concerns about this issue to Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, who shared her views having visited the town earlier this year.

Options such as a by-pass and a one-way system among others will be discussed and Ms Donelan plans to lobby this to the Wiltshire Council to try and solve this ongoing quandary.

“This is the biggest issue in Bradford on Avon and everybody knows it. It is an intensifying issue and it won’t go away,” said Ms Donelan. The congestion causes air pollution, delays to work and there is a danger aspect for the emergency services and further problems will arise as more houses get built.”

In response to Ms Donelan’s motion, Mr McLoughlin said:

“I should be more than happy to meet her along with my honorary friend the roads Minister, to discuss in detail what we could do to help, but this is, in the main, a matter for Wiltshire council.”

Previous town issues, such as plans for a footbridge and a historic core zone, proved to polarise opinion, but Ms Donelan stressed the importance of this being a unifying and bipartisan topic.

“We don’t want this to be another divisive issue. It is important to try and get something for the community, backed by the community,” said Ms Donelan, who plans to lobby the council and create a cross party group. No solution will happen overnight but it is better to start now rather than in five years time,” she added. There is no other historic town like this one that is trapped with this congestion that has found a solution. I would like to see some kind of one way system to see if that makes a difference. Anything that we do in terms of promoting the use of public transport, walking or cycling is tinkering. There will be a meeting in spring next year but we need to get something started.”

Alan Creedy, Wiltshire Council’s Head of Service, Transport Planning, said:

“What we would need is a very clear mandate from the town. This is a local problem not a wider strategic one.”

Godfrey Marks, a campaigner on traffic issues in the town for nearly two decades, said:

“It would take a magic wand to fix this. Most of the traffic is local so they wouldn’t use a bypass and a one-system would increase traffic enormously. Nobody knows how to address this and it is likely to get worse with developments, expanding towns on top of the environmental, political and economic problems.”

Martin Valatin, St Margaret’s Hill, who was involved in working groups on this issue in 2012-13, believes a mini bypass is feasible by diverting peak-time town traffic via Maple Croft, through Wooley Green, to Staverton with a new flood-proof causeway.

Gerald Milward-Oliver, Director of the Bradford on Avon Development Trust, said:

“In 2011, highway engineers’ estimates were at £20m for a 4km bypass, it could be double that now. You would have to double the size of town but where would the money come from?”

This is Wiltshire

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