Thornbury Town and District Residents Association

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Information in the Local Press

Nov 12, 2021

Environment, Climate, Carbon and Sustainable Transport

Quote from this week’s Thornbury Gazette 4th November 2021 attributed to a SGC Councillor when referring to the Recent Ring Road Proposals;

“We also need to keep in focus our climate emergency goals of reducing carbon emissions and encouraging more people to use sustainable transport options. You have spoken and we have listened. We will not be submitting a further funding bid at this time, but we will feed the comments received back into the proposals”

This statement has relevance to the situation at Thornbury. It is 18 months since introduction of the Experimental Traffic Order in June 2021 for people to live with the decisions imposed upon us. The impact has been devastating. The recent Traffic Regulation Orders do not help the situation at all, and the resulting traffic solutions are not Fit For Purpose. The cost of temporary and permanent works is not just monetary but the unnecessary production and use of construction resources will impact upon Climate Change, as will the actual construction work itself which will cause more severe traffic problems and pollution. SGC must not apply for further funding for at least 12 months until all relevant matters have been addressed.

The RA supports the idea of encouraging pedestrians & cyclists together with use of public transport to access the town centre from the fringes of Thornbury. The building a substantial and safe network for cyclists and pedestrians from the new housing developments and along Bristol Road should be the priority.

Support from SGC

A SGC Newsroom Release quoted the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure as follows:

“Thornbury High Street, like town centres across the country, have seen tough trading conditions made more difficult by the pandemic, but have responded brilliantly in adapting the way they do business and serve their communities in a safe way, so that with the right support they are poised to bounce back and thrive as we look to the future”

It would appear that the “support” given is to close the High Street to through traffic. This has giving the Town a serious access and traffic problem, hence making Thornbury a most unattractive place to visit.

Extract from The Sunday Telegraph Editorial 18th October 2020

“At last, someone is getting a grip on the chaos on Britain’s roads. Since the start of the pandemic, drivers have been subjected to a gamut of ridiculous new restrictions on their ability to get around.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, decided that Covid necessitated a transformation in travel, and called on local authorities to refashion their roads, with the aim of making it easier to walk and cycle.
The result has been a mess: road closures that have merely diverted traffic onto other routes and caused congestion, “pop-up” cycle lanes that are rarely used, and street narrowing programmes that have put people off visiting local high streets.

Now Mr Shapps has written to local authorities demanding a change in approach. This is extremely welcome. While emphasising the Government’s support for motorists, he says he is not prepared to tolerate schemes that fail to consult local residents or which inconvenience drivers while providing little benefit to either cyclists or walkers.”

The Residents Association calls upon SGC to fully and meaningfully engage with the local community to agree on the best way forward to revitalise Thornbury Town Centre for all users. SGC need to take into account Mr Shapps communication demanding a change in approach.

Extract from Daily Telegraph article on 2nd March 2021

“Sound your horn if you live just outside a Low Traffic Neighbourhood! My family lives around the corner from one of Islington’s new “people friendly streets” schemes, and our residential road has recently become anything but. Congestion, pollution and noise displaced from elsewhere in the borough now fill our heads and homes, and risk our children’s health. We are the collateral damage in a bitter battle to let others to breathe easy.

My MP, Labour’s Emily Thornberry, would shudder at the lines of white vans and frustrated motorists queueing all day outside our windows. And so should Boris Johnson, formerly a resident of our road, as he seeks to drive Britain back to prosperity. Nobody will be driving anywhere fast in Islington, nor in great swathes of the capital. As London, the engine of Global Britain, looks to spark back to life, it risks finding itself gridlocked thanks to the petty obsessions of anti car local politicians.

Our council has used pandemic powers to close large parts of the borough to all through traffic – selecting winners and losers in the clean air lottery. “On your bike!” may be fashionable in the 15-minute city dreamed of by the idealistic Left; but London’s opportunities and allure lie beyond our doorsteps and local high streets.

Closing roads to encourage “active travel” may be a path trodden in some continental cities, with different geographies and economies, but in our mega-city it’s a dead end for workers, parents, the disabled, and any business with ambition. As lockdown eases, volumes of traffic return to normal, and businesses look to make up for lost time, councils which should be nurturing our livelihoods are instead putting the brakes on recovery.

Divisive headlines and single-issue politicians pit this as a case of “two wheels good, four wheels bad”. But the truth is that the annexation of our infrastructure disenfranchises everyone. Transport links sit at the heart of our economy. And while supporters of change may hail localised reduction of congestion, pollution and road danger, arbitrary solutions merely create similar, but bigger, problems in other residential roads and arterial routes where traffic levels have increased and vehicles are left idling in traffic jams.”

This gives a good flavour of life in the area around Thornbury town centre too. 25% of Thornbury residents are aged over 70, i.e. over 3000, and the loss of a bus service in the High Street has had a huge impact on many of them, as has the loss of parking.