HUNDREDS of people have made their views known on proposals to make Chipping Sodbury’s High Street safer.
Residents turned out en masse to view a variety of plans drawn up by consultation company CH2M HLL, on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, at a public exhibition in the town hall on Monday (June 9).
Various proposals include a 20mph zone throughout the town, double yellow lines in numerous roads and a two-hour waiting limit with residents’ permits in parts of High Street, Rounceval Street and Horse Street Further options include a number of pedestrian crossings at various points on Broad Street and High Street.
There is, however, no option for a crossing at the junction of Wickwar Road with High Street or at the bottom of Hounds Road, despite the council acknowledging that the review followed requests for improvements at these points.
Instead, there is a proposal for one large crossing zone at an existing island across High Street, just off the Wickwar Road, and for a raised table in the centre of the carriageway on Broad Street, at the junction with Hounds Road, preventing cars from pulling straight out onto Wickwar Road or from turning right into Broad Street in an attempt to reduce the number of movements at the junction.
A spokesman for CH2M HLL said: “We would also narrow the kerb at the end of Hounds Road to make drivers stop at the junction and take a steady left. That would take the pressure off the junction where there is a lot of pedestrian and traffic conflict.”
He added: “The crossings are not legal zebra crossings or light-controlled but would use different materials and are a more intelligent way of using the road surface.”
He said proposals over parking were restricted because of an ongoing dispute over the ownership of the pitchings throughout the town, which the Duke of Beaufort claims belong to his estate.
Members of the public have expressed disappointment over the lack of any crossing at the Wickwar Road junction.
Bob Keen, from Keep Sodbury Safer Action Group (KSSAG) said: “Given that the first stated aim is to enhance the safety of pedestrians at the junction of High Street and Wickwar Road, KSSAG are disappointed that the public consultation shows that no change is actually proposed at that notorious spot.
"Instead the consultants will rely on associated measures, such as lower speed limits.”
John Mainstone, who lives on Wickwar Road and has long called for action at the Wickwar Road junction, said: “My main disappointment is this doesn’t address that junction.
“I had thought they would be able to make that crossing safer and the danger of crossing Hounds Road has not been addressed in its own right.”
Carole Swain, of Cotswold Road, said she was in favour of the plans provided motorists were not prevented from turning right and left out of Hounds Road.
“If that was the case we would have to go down to Yate to get back to our house,” she said. “It would drive us mad.”
Nick Gurney, of Horse Street, said: “For residents this is bad news.
“I am very unhappy about the proposals for residents parking in the High Street because it will force commuters and other traffic down to this end and make it impossible for us to park.”
Paul Hulbert, a Dodington parish councillor who regularly parks in the Wickwar Road car park to shop in the High Street, said: “Cars come along Wickwar Road at speed and it needs a formal crossing at the junction with the High Street.”
Bennetts Court resident Mark Austen, who is partially sighted, said the double yellow lines on Bowling Hill would help improve safety at the junction of his road, where a horrific accident occurred earlier this year.
“Coming in and out of our road is a nightmare,” he said. “Turning right into Bennetts Court from Yate is very dangerous because of all the cars parked on Bowling Hill and some lorries mount the kerb which is no good if you are partially sighted.
“If this makes it safer to get in and out so much the better.”
The consultation is open until June 27. Visit www.southglos.gov.uk to make a comment.