Call for lower speed limit

Residents have called for greater road safety in the village of Perrotts Brook near Cirencester.

SR_8557_001     Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Cllr Nigel Robbins and Theo Hare,centre right, with copies of the petition to reduce the speed limit on Welsh Way at Perrott's Brook with some of the local residents

A petition of 70 names, gathered by local businessman Theo Hare, lobbies Gloucestershire Highways to cut the speed limit amidst concerns over the ways vehicles drive through the village.

Now, County Councillors Paul Hodgkinson and Nigel Robbins have backed residents and will be presenting the petition to December’s Council meeting.

Cllr Hodgkinson says the current system of speed limits is bizarre: “You have a situation at the moment where drivers are legally limited to 50mph on the busy main road between Cheltenham and Cirencester but in the narrow lanes of the village they can drive faster!

“It’s no wonder that residents complain of near-misses and feel unsafe as they walk and cycle.

“What we need is for Highways to listen and do something about this strange anomaly. People’s safety has to take priority and it’s totally reasonable to ask drivers to slow down a bit as they go through the village.”

 

Air Balloon solution stalling

Last year the Department of Transport approved funding to Highways England for fixing the A417 ‘Missing Link’, as part of a £15 billion countrywide road improvement scheme, but it has now been confirmed that a solution will not be delivered before 2021.

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Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Bouton-On-the-Water and Northleach) raised the issue this week with a Senior County Council Officer and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in his capacity as Chairman of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson said: “Many of us have spent years lobbying for a solution to the triple problems at the A417 – air pollution, gridlock and accidents. The outgoing Coalition Government committed to a sum of £250 million to be allocated to solving the Missing Link last December.

“Now, the new Government appears to be moving the goalposts. Not only do we now have no absolute commitment to spending money on a solution but the date for actual works is moving back beyond 2021.

A report from the LEP presented to the county’s council leaders this week stated that ‘..Highways England say any delivery of A417 solution is not in current funding programme to 2021’.

Cllr Hodgkinson, who represents part of the area covered by the A417 added: “Fixing the A417 does not feature on Highways England’s current funding programme up to 2021 and I’ve also seen no guarantees that it’ll feature on any programme after 2021 either.

“This isn’t on. We want a clear and definite commitment and total clarity about when works will start.”

Cllr Nigel Robbins (LD: Cirencester Beeches) who represents another part of the A417 said: “How many more fatalities are going to happen on this stretch of road before something is finally delivered? Fixing the A417 is vital in cutting accidents and reducing congestion and pollution levels.

“More than 6,600 people pledged their support in January 2014 when it seemed we had finally turned a corner in delivering a solution.

 “Residents of Gloucestershire deserve certainty and the timetable for delivering a solution to fixing the A417 missing link is slipping. I’m calling for more to be done to get it back on track.”

“We’ll continue to campaign to get the missing link fixed.”

Air Balloon – cash at last!

 

Today it’s been announced that £250 million funding has been given by the Coalition Government to solve the issues at the Air Balloon A417.

Paul Hodgkinson (centre) with local councillors Iain Dobie and Nigel Robbins.

Paul Hodgkinson (centre) with local councillors Iain Dobie and Nigel Robbins.

In a raft of funding for major road projects across the UK, money has been allocated to develop a solution to the notorious traffic blackspot which has seen six people lose their lives in the last year.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, who represents the Air Balloon area on the County and District Council, says it is great news after the years of waiting:

“After so much campaigning, so many accidents and the blight of pollution, today’s announcement is music to my ears and to the many people who’ve been wanting this. All the hard work has paid off. 

“I put motions to both the County Council and District Council calling for action from Government and both of these were unanimously approved – these strong messages clearly helped influence ministers to act at last.

“Now it’s important to make sure that this area’s problems get fixed as quickly as possible and that this is combined with measures to reduce noise from the road for communities along the dual carriageway to the north and south of Cirencester.”

 

A united front will keep the pressure on to fix the Missing Link

Local county councillors have joined forces to ask more people to show their support for the A417 Loop solution.

Cllrs Nigel Robbins and Paul Hodgkinson (right) are backing urgent action at the Air Balloon.

Cllrs Nigel Robbins and Paul Hodgkinson (right) are backing urgent action at the Air Balloon.

In May next year central government will make its decision on funding for the A417 Loop, Gloucestershire County Council’s solution for the ‘missing link’. Local county councillors, Paul Hodgkinson, Robert Vines and Nigel Robbins are backing the campaign and reminding anyone who travels this route that there is still time to pledge their support.

Earlier this year the ‘missing link’ was added to a Highways Agency list of roads in the south west that need major improvements because of capacity, safety and environmental issues.

The road’s appearance on the list means it is one step closer to finding funding when the Government allocates cash, but more pledges are still needed to make it known how much local support there is for the scheme.

So far, more than 5780 people and businesses have signed up at www.a417missinglink.co.uk.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, local county councillor for Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach said, “I urge you to join the Gloucestershire residents and businesses who’ve already signed up to finally fix this controversial road. If we join together, we can make the difference.”

Cllr Nigel Robbins, local county councillor for Cirencester Beeches said, “With more than 34,000 vehicles a day, it’s a bottleneck which holds up commuters and business on a daily basis; let’s get it fixed once and for all. Please pledge your support today.”

Local business owners and commuters are encouraged to show their support for the A417 Loop by signing up and pledging their backing at www.a417missinglink.co.uk.

 

Cotswold TV features Air Balloon proposals

The controversial proposal by the Highways Agency to launch an ‘experimental layout’ later this year is now the subject of a new video.

Cotswold TV interviewed Cllr Paul Hodgkinson and County Council candidate Nigel Robbins recently about the plans.

You can see the video at this link:

Air Balloon roundabout proposals

The video gives full details of the proposals and gives residents’ views.

More news to follow on this topic.

 

 

 

 

County Council backs Air Balloon ‘experiment’ despite residents’ opposition

A proposal by the Highways Agency to change the junction lay out at the notorious Air Balloon roundabout has provoked an outcry from local residents. Gloucestershire County Council has confirmed it supports a trial change and is part funding it.

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L to R: Road safety campaigners Nigel Robbins and Jane Edwards with Cllr Paul Hodgkinson at the Air Balloon roundabout

A combination of air pollution and gridlocked traffic has prompted the Agency to come up with an ‘experimental layout change’ at the junction. The change would mean that traffic coming from the Cirencester and Swindon directions will only be able to turn left to Gloucester, with barriers preventing it going to the Leckhampton Hill and A436 exits.

Cars coming from the Gloucester direction will have free unimpeded access onto the roundabout, meaning that it will be free flowing. The experiment is understood to last for 6 months.

Many local residents have reacted to the news with dismay. Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley) has received over 100 emails and letters from people opposed to the scheme, “It’s been incredibly difficult getting hold of the Highways Agency to let them know the depth of feeling about this proposal. However, I’m due to speak to them shortly to let them know how people feel.”

“The cost of this experimental scheme will be £100,000 but from the HA’s own modelling air pollution will only show a slight decrease whilst CO2 emissions will rise along with journey times on other roads. All this for a projected saving of just 1 or 2 minutes for those using the A417!”

Nigel Robbins, road safety campaigner and ex principal of Cirencester College, is concerned about the impact on nearby villages, “This proposal – if it goes ahead – will lead to drivers using villages like Elkstone, Birdlip, Coberley and Winstone as rat runs to get to their destination. Traffic trying to get out of the A436 onto the roundabout will also cause longer tailbacks.”

We will keep you updated on the latest developments on this issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good news about A435

The road between Cheltenham and Cirencester saw a drop off in traffic when the dual carriageway was opened to by pass villages in 1998.

Paul (left) with fellow A435 road safety campaigner Nigel Robbins

Despite this, the A435 saw regular serious and fatal accidents up until 2006.

However, fatal accident numbers have dropped in the last few years and police speed checks have also confirmed that average speeds are lower than previously.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson has campaigned for greater road safety along the road for 6 years and is reassured that the campaign has helped the situation, “The ongoing road safety campaign which I kicked off in 2006 has involved residents, parish councils and the police. I’m sure that all our combined efforts have resulted in this.”

“At the end of the day this is about saving lives and preventing accidents. It gives us hope for our efforts on the A436 – a long campaign can reap rewards. We won’t stop just because the results are good – every effort could save another life.”

Route to Rendcomb?

The Churn Valley safer cycle and walkers route is making progress to linking with Rendcomb.

Paul (right) with keen cyclist and ex Cirencester College prinicipal Nigel Robbins at the Baunton stage of the path

At present, the route follows the existing bridlepath between Bowling Green Lane and North Cerney via Baunton and Perrott’s Brook.

Now, the group responsible for bringing the path up to the required standard is actively researching how it can carry on from North Cerney to Rendcomb.

Chair of the group Cllr Paul Hodgkinson says its important for the route to carry on as far as possible, “We undertook a survey of Rendcomb students a while back and there was a lot of support for a safer route for mountain bikes and walkers to avoid the A435 which is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.”

“As a group we’ve been talking to landowners and walking the possible routes from North Cerney, using Conigre Woods and possibly the Whiteway before dropping down into Rendcomb. However, it is still early days and we want to make sure everyone is happy with this before communicating to people. Having the consent of landowners is paramount.”

Please watch for further updates.