Speed up safety measures at Keynsham junction, say campaigners
Published on: 03 Mar 2017
People living near Keynsham’s Somerdale site are demanding action on a catalogue of concerns – from a “dangerous” junction and lack of safe routes for pedestrians to potholes they say have been left for far too long.
Residents in Chandos Road, Priory Road and surrounding streets are calling on developer Taylor Wimpey and Bath and North East Somerset Council to fulfil promises for a pedestrian crossing to Keynsham Station and safety measures at the Chandos Road/Station Road junction sooner rather than later.
A temporary plastic barrier was installed several months ago at the top of Chandos Road to try to prevent vehicles turning into Somerdale driving straight across the top of Chandos Road – but residents say this has failed to solve the problem.
Resident and Keynsham Labour branch secretary Dave Biddleston said: “You can see the barrier has been knocked as cars go straight across the junction so it is entirely ineffective and confusing for drivers who don’t know the layout.”
Katharine Holland, who has lived in the area for 29 years, added: “This far along in the development we were expecting it would be complete and safe. At our first meeting with Taylor Wimpey the junction was identified as dangerous and among the first things they were going to do – but they haven’t.”
Taylor Wimpey has confirmed that it plans to close off Chandos Road and divert access for residents through the Somerdale development and that it would be contacting B&NES Highways team to assess the temporary measures at the junction again.
A Bath and North East Somerset Council spokesperson added work on the junction was expected to begin this summer. The spokesperson said: “Planning approval has been granted for a signalised junction where Chandos and Priory Road will be closed in part to through traffic. Taylor Wimpey are planning to start work on this during summer 2017.”
Residents are also calling for urgent action to provide a crossing from the Somerdale site to Keynsham Station across the 30mph Station Road – which B&NES says will also be installed this summer.
Mrs Holland said her husband walks to and from the station every day and he has to play “Russian roulette” when crossing the busy road.
Chandos Road resident Samantha Bell said: “I commute using the train and it is very unsafe to cross Station Road due to the speed of the traffic coming around the bend outward-bound, plus having to look out for cars exiting the station car park.
“There is also a safety issue trying to cross from Priory Road to Chandos Road or into Somerdale as commuters often use the top of the junction as a drop-off point and perform a U-turn across the junction, which is beyond dangerous.”
Potholes are also further adding to motorists’ and pedestrians’ woes along Chandos Road and into the Somerdale estate on Claudius Road – where one hole had even left a TV cable exposed before it was filled in the day after Keynshamvoice visited.
Another resident who has lived in the area for 25 years said as a motorbike rider she found the potholes dangerous and felt they also posed a risk to children on scooters and runners. She added: “It’s fantastic they are developing the site and I love the whole concept of Frys, who put people first, but I think existing residents are being given a rough deal.”
B&NES’ Highways team is due to inspect the Chandos Road area, the council said, while Claudius Road remains the responsibility of Taylor Wimpey as work on the new housing estate, which will contain up to 700 homes, continues.
The Keynsham Labour Group has now begun gathering signatures on a petition door to door calling for swift action on residents’ concerns, which will be presented to Taylor Wimpey and B&NES Council.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “Health and safety is our top priority at Taylor Wimpey, and when we were first informed of concerns about the Chandos Road/Station Road junction last November we immediately contacted B&NES Highways to assess how safety there could be improved.
“In order to reduce the speed of vehicles entering the junction, B&NES Highways proposed the temporary arrangement which is now in place until work is completed at the Somerdale site. Since this was implemented, no local residents have contacted us to express their concerns – however, we will contact the B&NES Highways team and ask them to look at the barrier again to assess if any modifications are required.
“Since we have been working on site we have carried out various maintenance and repair works to Chandos Road as soon as any issues have arisen. The exposed Virgin Media duct will be covered today and the crossover from Chandos Road/Claudius Road will be repaired early next week.
“As part of our off-site improvement works, a signalised pedestrian crossing is planned to connect the development to Keynsham railway station.”