Noisy road campaigners make their voices heard

Campaigners are stepping up their bid to reduce noise from the A419/417 dual carriageway in the Cotswolds.

Residents from Baunton and Bagendon with Paul Hodgkinson (centre).

Residents from Baunton and Bagendon with Paul Hodgkinson (centre).

The A419 Noise Action Group (A419NAG) was formed last year in an attempt to get the Highways Agency to replace noisy concrete parts of the road with a quieter surface.

They say the noise along parts of the road has impacted on people’s lives and is getting worse.

Now, group chair Cllr Paul Hodgkinson  has written to Gloucestershire County Council, Cotswold District Council and Wiltshire County Council, asking them to contact DEFRA to try to get the whole length of the A417 and A419 designated as an “Important Area” for noise level purposes:

“This would mean that the Highways Agency would then take action to reduce noise levels on the whole length, not just in very small pockets. Villages like Cerney Wick, Driffield, Down Ampney and Baunton all suffer from noise pollution.”

Paul said in the letter: “I would be most grateful if you could write to Defra requesting that they designate the whole length of this road so that hopefully remedial measures can be undertaken to reduce the noise affecting residents and businesses living and working nearby.

“They have suffered for far too long.”

Three hundred people have responded to the action group’s request for information about their experiences of the road noise. The online survey can be found at http://a419nag.co.uk/take-our-survey/

Bagendon resident Brian Forde is a member of the campaign group. He and his wife Jenny have called for action to be taken to ‘right a wrong’. He said: “All we are campaigning for is something much nearer to the sound levels predicted at the time of the road being built.”

 

All ears for launch of noise campaign

A group of residents and councillors from along the A419 and A417 have launched a brand new campaign against excessive noise from the road.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson with 40 residents, councillors and the Cotswold MP at the launch of the campaign.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson with 40 residents and councillors at the launch of the cross-party, parish and county campaign.

The issue of noise from the dual carriageway has been a running sore for residents since it was first built in 1998. Various attempts to reduce the sound have been made over the years without success so far.

Now, a group of 14 people have come forward to get the campaign moving again and have been meeting since last summer. They  held an official launch yesterday.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) is chairing the group which has called itself A419 NAG (Noise Action Group) and believes the will is there to take action at last, “Those of us living north of Cirencester suffer just as much from excessive and irritating noise from the road as those around the Water Park area, north Wiltshire and parts of Cirencester. People have been raising the issue again and we agreed something fundamental had to be done about this.”

“This is about righting a wrong – since the completion of the dual carriageway, people living along this section of the road have suffered excessive noise pollution. This massively disruptive problem to everyday life is caused not just by the sheer weight of traffic but by the surface used – concrete.”

“At the time of its construction the estimates for noise generated by the road were far below what we now experience. The decision to use concrete, rather than more environmentally friendly asphalt, was based on cost benefits but the payback is it has brought misery to thousands living along this stretch of the road. This problem is affecting people’s health, enjoyment of their homes and local businesses are also feeling the impact.”

The group consists of representatives from Baunton, Bagendon, Latton, Down Ampney and Cerney Wick parish councils, along with Cirencester and Water Park councillors and residents. 

George Philips from Driffield first contacted the Cotswolds MP in 2003 when he was a Parish Councillor to complain about the public nuisance, “Since then, we received confirmation that the resurfacing would be completed in the period 2004/5 to 2006/7 but we are still waiting for any action whilst the human impact increases.”

”Who can we turn to for revised vigour and action as the problem of excessive noise continues to be exacerbated by vastly increased traffic flows and higher speeds? I feel that the battle for a solution has not been lost as the real offensive has never been started!”

Janet Sharpe is a Latton resident who has been working on a Parish Plan for the village,  “We have found that the A419 noise is of real concern to residents as its getting increasingly more disruptive to lives. People are reporting being unable to sleep, unable to open windows and enjoy their homes and gardens. It feels like those who have the power and budgets to deal with these issues are not listening to citizens’ concerns and this gives the message that people don’t matter.”

Cllr Hodgkinson added, “We believe that all who suffer the horrible consequence of this miscalculation deserve to be given the road they were promised. This can be achieved by resurfacing the concrete with a quieter and more suitable material.”

“We invite others to join the campaign and help us realise what was promised. A good way to contribute is by completing our survey online at our website – www.a419nag.co.uk.”

 

Will you be part of the Big Project?

An appeal to raise funds for one of our local primary schools has been launched.

NorthCerneySchool

L to R: Jane Burr Headteacher of North Cerney School, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Jenny Forde Big Project Leader.

The Big Project is a charity that has been set up to help raise some of the funds required to to build a new classroom/assembly hall at North Cerney primary school.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson is backing the project, “We’re fortunate in having two excellent primary schools in our area – at Coberley and North Cerney. In North Cerney, the school has educated generations since 1843 and is currently thriving with 60 children, a committed head, staff and governing body. It really does sit at the heart of the local community.”

Jenny Forde from Bagendon is leading the bid, “Building this new extension requires a budget of £150,000. To realise this the school intends on making a bid to the Local Education Authority this Spring for funding. However, it’s anticipated that only 50% would be available for any one grant so, in our case, that would leave us with a target of £75,000.”

“But time is against us – our deadline is 28th February 2013! You can be a part of that excitement by supporting local children and families with a donation. All contributions of £500 plus will be appear on a plaque in the new building.”

Please contact Jenny Forde at jenniferforde@hotmail.co.uk or 01285 831193 if you’d like to support the Big Project.

A417 campaign group restarts its journey

A group of residents and councilors from along the A417 and A419 are relaunching the campaign against excessive noise from the road.

Paul Hodgkinson and Bagendon resident Jan Yates pictured here in 2007 when they first started campaigning about road noise - now the campaign has begun motoring again

The team, originally planned to meet last autumn, has regrouped and meets next week to refocus its efforts.

The issue of noise from the dual carriageway has been a running sore for residents since it was first built in 1996. Last autumn, a public meeting was held in Latton to which 60 people turned up. The consensus of the meeting was to that a steering group should be set up to drive the campaign forwards and put pressure on the Government to take action.

Now, a group of ten people have come forward to get the campaign moving again.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) is chairing the first meeting of the group next week and believes the will is there to take action at last, “Those of us living north of Cirencester suffer just as much from excessive and irritating noise from the road as those around the Water Park area and parts of Cirencester. Some of my constituents raised the issue with me again and we agreed something fundamental had to be done about this.”

“I put a note out to all those who’d expressed interest in getting involved with this campaign and we will have a good spread of people at our first meeting, which is a great start.”

The group also consists of representatives from Bagendon, Latton, Down Ampney and Cerney Wick parish councils, along with Cirencester and Water Park councilors and residents.

Cllr Hodgkinson added, “The aim of our first meeting is to work out a strategy for highlighting the issue to a wider audience and lobby the Government, the road company which maintains the road and other organisations who have an interest in the issue.”

“At stake here is the quality of life of all those thousands of people who live near and along the dual carriageway. The road should never have been built in concrete near to areas of population.”

The Group will be meeting in South Cerney on Thursday 19 July and will be issuing a further statement following their discussions.

Paths, potholes and plastics!

All of the parish councils in the Churn Valley have just held their Annual Parish Meetings and various issues have been raised.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (right) with Cllr John Hughes (Shadow Environment Spokesman) - plastics was a hot topic at the annual parish meetings

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson spoke at each meeting with a report back on what had been happening both locally and CDC-wide in the last 12 months.

Paul said, “It was great to see lots of people at North Cerney, Baunton, Rendcomb, Coberley and Bagendon parish council meetings in the last ten days.”

“Locally, I spoke about littering of verges along the A435 and the Whiteway in particular and how people can call CDC on 01285 623623 to get the are cleared quickly. Also, the state of some roads is appalling! Potholes are an ongoing bugbear and I report them as I see them, but residents can do the same direct to GCC. I can get on the case if they aren’t fixed promptly.”

“People also wanted to know how the Churn Valley Safer Cycle and Walkers Path is developing. I told them about how the existing bridlepath is being brought up to the correct standard and how the route could now be extended to Rendcomb from North Cerney.”

“There was lots of good feedback on the news that CDC will be introducing kerbside hard plastics recycling from the autumn – something I’ve campaigned for vigorously for the last 5 years. The poor decision of CDC’s administration to recommend 24/7 car parking charges across the district was also discussed and there was relief that in the end they had only gone ahead with this in one car park.”

Colesbourne has a parish meeting rather than a council and no date has yet been fixed for their annual meeting.

Care village plans rejected

A proposal to build a care village on part of Cirencester Golf Club was rejected yesterday.

The Planning Committee of Cotswold District Council voted unanimously to refuse a planning application which would have seen the building of a care home and village in Bagendon parish, adding 50% to the parish’s population.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson attended the meeting as ward member for the area and afterwards commented, “The Committee was particularly concerned about the building of so many homes in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The visual impact of the development would have been marked and the Committee followed the planning officer’s recommendation to refuse the application.”

“There was clear support from the Committee to see the clubhouse redeveloped but the proposed adjoining care village was seen to contravene the Council’s planning policies and Government guidelines and was therefore a non-starter.”