Old A40 set to re-open

After 4 years left closed due to a land slippage, a Cotswolds road has been given the chance for a brand new lease of life.

The Old A40 links villages including Compton Abdale and Hazleton to Northleach and has been the subject of a lively campaign to get it re-opened. 500 people signed a petition organised by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson to allow traffic onto the road again and he presented this to County Council bosses in 2016.

The road has become a target for joy riders and a travellers’ encampment recently which has prompted renewed calls to sort the situation out.

Now, a proposal put forward by Highways will see traffic being allowed through in one new lane near to the slippage area whilst the rest of the road will have two way traffic. The works will be carried out so that cars can start driving the road next Spring.

Originally it was suggested by the County Council that local parish and town councils should contribute to the scheme but the move proved controversial with residents pointing out that they already paid council tax for road repairs. But yesterday Highways stepped in to help fully fund the new project.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (GCC, Bourton and Northleach) says that re-opening the road is important to residents in the Cotswolds:

“After discussions with the County Council Leader, I have a commitment to get the road open again and it is really good news. This is a perfect example of cross-party working to get things done.

“We have now pieced together the money to get this fixed with the County Council paying the lion’s share. I’ve pledged £17,000 from the small Highways Local fund and the Community Grant Fund I get each year. And a generous local organisation has pledged another £5,000.

“A lot of people have already been in touch with me telling me how pleased they are that the road will be open again within six months. This is a good day for local people power and I’d like to thank all those who supported the campaign to get this re-opened.”

New proposal to get Old A40 reopened

After 3 years left of being closed due to a land slippage, the Old A40 near Northleach has been given the chance for a brand new lease of life. A proposal by Highways would see traffic being allowed through in one new lane near to the slippage area whilst the rest of the road would have two way traffic.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson says he supports the re-opening of the road and led a petition 2 years ago to do so which got 500 signatures:

“The new proposal by the County Council means that the £55,000 must be pieced together. I’ve already committed at least £12,000 from the small Highways Local fund I get each year. GCC will put in up to £23,000 if local town and parish councils contribute the remaining £20,000.

“Recently Northleach Town Council discussed the proposal with me and will make a decision on whether to fund some of the scheme at its September meeting.

“To gauge opinion I asked residents to fill out a short survey online. So far 150 people have done so with 85% in favour of re-opening and 15% against. We’re faced with a lower cost solution to get the road open again and we should seize it otherwise I’ve been told the road will be closed ‘for many years.’

Northleach resident Tony Dale also wants the road re-opened: “This is one of the safe crossing points across the Fosse Way for any parents and commuters travelling to and from Northleach. Opening this road after too many years of delays would instantly lighten the traffic passing down ‘All Alone’ and by the primary school.”

Call for ‘people’s challenge’ to road closure

A councillor has asked residents to contact Gloucestershire County Council en masse in a bid to re-open a well used Cotswolds road.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton & Northleach) is calling for the ‘old A40’ near Northleach to be brought back into use after being closed by the Council in 2015. He has tabled a question at this week’s County Council meeting asking if highways bosses are allowing roads to fall into disuse.

The road links villages like Yanworth, Compton Abdale and Hazleton with Northleach and was used as a more direct route to avoid the congested and busy A40. It was temporarily closed under emergency powers after the Council claimed that an initial high level inspection showed that damage to the road was severe enough to cause public harm.

Now, the County Council has formally published its intention under the Road Traffic Act to extend the road closure indefinitely. People have until just 14 September to let Shire Hall lawyers know what they think about this.

Cllr Hodgkinson is asking for as many people as possible to contact Council lawyers urgently:

“Last year I presented a petition with 500 names on it to the Council Leader calling for the old A40 to be re-opened yet their wishes have been ignored. Highways officers promised me that a full geotechnical report would be produced in April with recommendations on how the road could be mended or even partially opened. To date I have still not received any recommendations or proposals. The Council is dragging its feet and I’m fed up with promises being made which aren’t kept.”

“The road is already falling into disrepair and I have been told it is not a priority to open it quickly – I have no faith that it will be re-opened at all.”

“The only way we can get Council bosses to listen is through a people’s challenge to the legal notice which Shire Hall lawyers have issued asking for the road to be closed indefinitely.

“Having taken advice it’s clear that the Council has failed to establish whether the damage to the road is indeed severe sufficiently enough to close it completely, partially if at all. To date and after frequent requests there is still no formal report outlining the severity of the damage. This may lead to potential grounds to challenge outright the extension in full or reduce the current order. For example, to allow one way traffic flow on one side of the road for cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

“I am told that the use of the Road Traffic Act in circumstances where work has not even started or in fact where there are no firm plans or even a timetable to begin work introduces grounds for a challenge. The fact that it took them over 12 months to commission a survey in the first instance and then fail to provide a full report prior to the issue of the legal notice on August 24 infers that Council bosses are deliberately dragging their feet and behaving unreasonably. A challenge may have the potential to force them into scheduling the works within a definite timetable.”

Anyone wishing to make their views known should contact Carrie Denness, Principal Lawyer, Legal Services, Gloucestershire County Council, Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2TG.

Email: carrie.denness@gloucestershire.gov.uk.