New junction on A4 between Keynsham and Saltford branded 'complete madness' gets the go-ahead

Published on: 30 Dec 2016

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A new junction on the busy Bath Road to provide access to a proposed new housing estate on the edge of Keynsham has been given the go-ahead – despite a local councillor calling the plan “complete madness”.

Developer Mactaggart and Mickel, which is behind a controversial scheme to build around 250 homes on former green-belt land to the east of Keynsham, has won outline consent to create a priority junction from the site onto the A4, opposite the grounds of Ellsbridge House.

Bath and North East Somerset Council’s development control committee voted in favour of the junction scheme, which replaces the original proposal for a traffic light-controlled junction onto the
A4.

Council officers reported that traffic modelling had showed traffic lights at the site could result in “significant queues” of up to 50 vehicles on the Bath Road at peak times.

A priority junction, which wouldn’t have lights, would have much less of an impact – although they pointed out that the model showed people wanting to turn right from the new development a peak times would face “extreme delays”.

A new light-controlled pedestrian crossing to the east of the junction would create gaps in the traffic, however, officers said, while motorists could also choose to turn left and go around Broadmead roundabout.

Approval for the junction is a major step forward for Mactaggart and Mickel’s housing development scheme, which has attracted 398 objections and general comments and just two statements of support since it was submitted to the council for consideration in February.

Speaking at the development control meeting on December 14, Saltford councillor Emma Dixon said the proposed estate between the village and Keynsham was “a step towards the eventual merger of the two communities, something to which both are completely opposed”.  

Addressing the proposal for the crossing, Ms Dixon said: “To add yet more traffic onto this heavily congested route, with just one access for vehicles into the site and out of the site is frankly complete madness.”

She also raised concerns that building on the land – called Breaches Gate locally and which stretches from the Bath Road to Manor Road Community Woodland – could potentially limit options or even prevent the creation of a bypass for Saltford in future.

Keynsham councillor Bryan Organ, a member of the development control committee, said he was completely opposed to the proposals for the site because of concerns over drainage, future provision for secondary-age children, traffic and air quality on the A4, and said: “The A4 is becoming a nightmare – this is an opportunity to look at it properly.”

In his 30 years of local government experience, he said, nothing had made the main routes in the area, including the A4, any better and added: “Somewhere along the line we haven’t got it right and it’s time we did.”

The proposal for the junction was passed, however, with eight votes in favour and two against.

A detailed application for the housing development, which also includes a new primary school, will be drawn up for consideration at a future date.

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