Including Saltford bypass in transport plans is 'fanciful and flawed'

March 29 2019

Saltford Parish Council has demanded that references to building a bypass around the village are dropped from the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA) ambitious plans for transport in the region.

The authority was responding to WECA’s Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP), which sets out up to £10 billion-worth of proposals to change the way people travel around the West of England by 2036, including a number that will affect roads and public transport in and around Keynsham and Saltford.

In the document, it says that before a decision on a bypass is made, work will be carried out to look at options for creating priority for buses on the A4 as they approach the village.

But the parish council said that any plan for the A4 that involved a bypass or orbital road was “fanciful and fundamentally flawed” and any references to a new road should be withdrawn. It said studies carried out on a potential bypass had shown the scheme would be costly and would cross difficult terrain and affect the landscape, adding that no “feasible” route had been identified in 50 years.

In its response to the JLTP the council welcomed the inclusion of a reopened Saltford station in a map of potential transport improvements but raised concerns at a potential increase in traffic through the village as the result of other proposed schemes.

In Keynsham, the town council has said the completion of the south-east section of the ring road is essential before any more housing development is considered for the town.

Its response calls for better local community transport to serve the town, including smaller buses, and supports the proposal for a Metrobus route along the A4, but points out that non-electrification of the Bristol to London railway line would be “detrimental” to any expansion planned for Keynsham, affecting employment and economic growth.

Both councils oppose road charges to help fund the transport plans, with Saltford Parish Council saying it “would consider this as an additional local tax and a charge which would significantly impact and disadvantage those people, including the elderly, on a low or fixed income”.  Keynsham Town Council said it would also not support raising business rates or council tax.