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Saltford residents see red over double yellow lines proposals
Proposals to paint double yellow lines along much of Saltford High Street have been branded a “fiasco” after residents called a public meeting to demand the scheme is dropped.
Besides the loss of on-street parking spaces – the only place many householders on the street can leave their cars – villagers said their main concern was that an empty road would create a “race track” for speeding motorists.
Residents and parish councillors at a public meeting on April 23 said Bath and North East Somerset Council’s proposal had come as a surprise to them after signs appeared on lamp posts to publicise the scheme and announce the start of a public consultation.
Saltford Parish Council held a packed meeting the previous week and demanded that the scheme was withdrawn in its entirety – but B&NES Council’s highways and traffic manager Kelvin Packer told
around 80 villagers at the second public meeting that the consultation had to be carried out in full.Residents’ responses would all be taken into account, he said, and added that the traffic regulation order (TRO) was not a “done deal” as many were modified or dropped following consultations.
He told the meeting at St Mary’s Church Hall that the scheme had been drawn up following concerns raised over access for emergency vehicles, refuse collections and because of claims that some motorists were driving onto pavements to pass other vehicles, putting pedestrians at risk.
But residents in the hall said they feared the scheme would make the road less safe, with one saying: “If you put yellow lines in we’ve got speeding problems – what process do you go through to come up with a scheme that quite frankly is ridiculous?”
Others added that they felt the real problem was the large lorries and tankers that use the street, including those accessing Wessex Water’s sewage treatment plant, and suggested a weight limit was what the High Street really needed.
B&NES Council leader Tim Warren said a working party could be set up to look at the High Street’s issues and that he would feed back to Councillor Mark Shelford, the cabinet member for transport and environment, that there was strong opposition to the proposed parking ban.
Mr Packer said the process for TROs had also been changed following the response and that in future parish and town councils would be consulted before the schemes were put to the public.
The proposals also include parking bans along lengths of a number of streets in Keynsham – Charlton Park, Charlton Road, Handel Road, Chewton Close, Park Road, Vandyck Avenue, Avon Road, Monmouth Road, Dapps Hill, Maple Walk, Longmeadow Road, Cleeve Grove, West View Road, Mendip Close and St George’s Road. The town council called an extraordinary meeting on April 23 to discuss the plans and voted to make a formal complaint to B&NES Council about the lack of notification.
After the meeting, Saltford Parish Council chairman Chris Warren said he was happy to be part of a working group but it should be led by B&NES.
He said: “They should have consulted the parish council from the very beginning. I won’t be completely reassured that this proposal has gone away until I see it confirmed in writing.”
Fellow parish councillor Duncan Hounsell added: “This has been a fiasco. Most High Street residents found out about the proposed parking restrictions from notices on lamp posts or by word of mouth. The consultation period was only 15 working days. Residents are asking why this? And why now?
“There needs to be a meaningful consultation that takes time to consider all the issues around parking, traffic flow, and speeding in the High Street.”
Councillor Emma Dixon, who faced questions at the meeting over a council document from February that stated she was “happy with the proposals”, said the scheme was put forward in response to complaints from residents.
She said: “These proposals were drawn up by officers and then put out to consultation. This is a standard procedure and happens daily, where proposals are made and those affected are then consulted.
“Consultation proved it was not popular, and now a decision will be made whether to go ahead with the scheme. This is just a consultation and given the feelings of those involved I will be pushing to stop the scheme. I’m hopeful that I will be successful.”
She added: “The officers and cabinet member, who make the decision to take this further, are aware that I do not support the scheme and I’m hoping to receive confirmation within the week that the scheme is stopped.”
A Wessex Water spokesman said: “We’ve not been involved in any discussions about parking in High Street, although heavy vehicles do regularly visit our water recycling centre at Saltford and access can sometimes be difficult due to parked cars.
“A new access bridge over the river has been considered as part of the Bath and North East Somerset WaterSpace Project and a feasibility study is about to start.”
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