Air Balloon madness

Proposed changes to a notorious roundabout have been branded ‘madness’ by a leading councillor.

Air Balloon proposals

The Air Balloon roundabout has become infamous for accidents and bottlenecks as the A417 dual carriageway reduces to just one lane in each direction at Birdlip. Now, in an attempt to cut air pollution and solve the gridlock, the Highways Agency have come up with a ‘trial’ scheme.

The scheme would allow only traffic from Cirencester to turn left at the roundabout (towards Gloucester). In turn, traffic coming up the steep hill from Gloucester will have unimpeded access onto the roundabout.

Now, local residents are up in arms over the proposals. 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley) has described the proposals as ‘madness’,  “The Highways Agency does not plan to consult on their plan which is crazy. This could have a major impact on villages surrounding the Air Balloon and the A435 as drivers try to find other ways of getting to their destination. For example,  traffic from Cirencester may well use the A435 to get to Cheltenham instead of the A417.

“The HA’s own figures say that there would only be a slight reduction in air pollution at the roundabout if this scheme were implemented. They also say that CO2 emissions would actually go up!

“What about the people who live along the A436? Won’t their air quality plummet as cars are stuck for ages trying to access the roundabout?

“I’ve already had 100 emails and letters, of which all but 3 are opposed to this. The very least we should expect is a full consultation with those whose lives will be impacted on. We can’t possibly  have a situation where this scheme goes ahead regardless of public opinion.”

Cllr Hodgkinson has now written formally to the Highways Agency listing his concerns and pressing them to consult. A public meeting is likely in January to enable residents to have their say. More details to follow.

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