On Thursday, 17 March, five representatives from Thornbury Town and District Residents Association met with officers of South Gloucestershire Council at their Badminton Road, Yate offices. The objective of this meeting was to find out the latest developments in the SGC plans for the centre of Thornbury but, with a few exceptions, there was little new to report. Donna Whinham and Verity Britton of SGC gave a presentation, most elements of which had already been given to various focus and interest groups in Thornbury, principally by Zoom meetings. Richard Lewis, a Traffic Engineer, was also present for some of the meeting.
Despite the fact that the Council’s Full Business Case is being prepared right now, for submission to the WECA Chief Executive for funding, no new plans or drawings were available at this meeting, although final drawings were promised for the latest Library engagement meetings, which have commenced already. Instead, the only details shown at this meeting were those which had been available for some time, being a coloured graphic of the proposed layout of parking and no-parking zones on The Plain and between The Close and Castle Court. When questioned about the area between the NatWest Bank and the Pump, SGC advised that this part of the design had not yet been finalised.
Key features coming out of the meeting at Yate, however, were as follows:
- SGC confirmed that they have received their copy of the document prepared by TTADRA, pointing out the many errors, miscalculations and misrepresentations contained in the Outline Business Plan for their High Street project. The document has also been sent to WECA.
- SGC confirmed that, if WECA does not agree to funding the project, then the matter will come back to SGC Cabinet for decisions on their options, which will still be based on the Council’s vision for Thornbury High Street.
- The return of bus services to the High Street is confirmed
- The bus stop will be close to Costa
- It has still not been decided if the bus will return on a 5-day or 7-day per week schedule, because the travelling market will still have to be accommodated. How the market would be accommodated was not made clear.
- The bus stop will not be in a layby, but on the single one-way carriageway. This would mean that other traffic would be blocked until the bus moved off, perhaps five minutes later. When asked about the bus delaying an ambulance, for example, Donna Whinham said, “The bus will move out of the way”. It was not clear how this would be achieved, given the narrow design of the carriageway.
- Continuing on the same subject, when asked how an ambulance on an emergency call, denied the right to use the High Street south-to-north, would negotiate the regular traffic congestion on Midland Way/Rock Street, Donna Whinham said, “The ambulance will find a way through.” These replies seemed to project a rather cavalier attitude to a potential endangerment to life.
- When asked if SGC had consulted with the emergency services over the siting of the bus stop in the traffic flow, the reply was that they would revert to the emergency services for information.
- The zebra crossing near Boots will be removed, and two new crossing points created in the High Street. These would be unguarded crossings. Given the volume of traffic still using the High Street legitimately, and two-way access for cycles, this could be less safe than desirable.
- The point was made that, since the vision for the High Street did not extend to double yellow lines, disabled parking was restricted to three spaces within the restricted parking area and prohibited elsewhere in that area, thus reducing the flexibility of blue badge parking. There would be no further concession to blue badge parking, since the vision for the High Street was based upon creating more pedestrian space with wider pavements.
- The case of Thornbury Christmas Lights was mentioned, where the size and weight of the funfair vehicles would make it difficult for the vehicles to access and exit from the High Street, even before more changes were made. This did not seem to register with SGC as a problem.
Overall, SGC appears to be set on delivering their vision for Thornbury High Street, with their Full Business Case due to be delivered imminently to WECA for review and agreement to funding. It is difficult to see how, still without the production of final plans for the project for public consultation, this scheme can be signed off for funding, when so many factors still need to be resolved and so many errors in the Council’s Business case still need to be rectified
The Residents Association requested that the public attend these the face ot face sessions in strength, listen to the council’s proposals and then inform the council representatives as to how the proposals do not the community’s needs and then inform them what is really required what is really required
Monday 28th March, Wednesday 30th March, Monday 4th April all 10.00 to 3.00pm Library
Thursday 7th April Market day walkaround
If you cannot attend email your points to email@example.com