Join Keynsham debates on roads and rail 'fit for the future'

March 01 2019
Join Keynsham debates on roads and rail 'fit for the future'

Residents will be able to quiz bus and rail bosses and the metro mayor at a forum in Keynsham on transport services and ambitious plans to transform the way we travel over the next 20 years.

James Foreman, the managing director of First West of England, and Dan Oakey, the regional development manager of GWR, will be joining West of England mayor Tim Bowles at the public event on Tuesday, March 5, at The Space.

The meeting will be a chance to hear updates from the two transport firms and from Mr Bowles on plans for transport across the region, including the ambitious Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP), which is out for public consultation until March 20.

The JLTP 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.

Keynsham Town Council has been asked to give its views on the JLTP and in order to gauge residents’ priorities will hold a second meeting two days later on Thursday, March 7, asking for views on local bus and rail services, parking, through traffic, the potential impact of new developments and the Bristol Airport expansion on traffic, walking and cycling in the town and more.

The JLTP identifies the A4 between Bath and Bristol as one of the four busiest corridors in the region, which spans Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Proposals include a new metrobus route travelling along the A4, with a light rail link from Hicks Gate to Bristol a longer-term plan, while the park and ride site at Brislington would be moved to south of Hicks Gate.

The layout of the Hicks Gate junction itself would also be altered, with a new link between the A4 and the A4174 ring road, while a new link road would connect Hicks Gate to the A37 Wells Road at Whitchurch – a plan that has met strong opposition from people living in Whitchurch who want to protect the green belt from development.

Another proposal in the JLTP is to create a link between the A4 and Avon Mill Road, including bridges over the railway line and possibly the Avon, while the Avon Mill Road and A4175 Keynsham Road junction could become a roundabout.

The plan also includes a package of improved bus services and cycle routes, including a direct link to the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, as well as upgrades to other road junctions, including the Waitrose roundabout.

Improvements for Keynsham train station are also included while in Saltford campaigners say they are relieved to see proposals for the reopening of the village’s station included in the JLTP after raising concerns the plan seemed to have disappeared from previous documents. The plan says the restoration of rail services to the village will be considered “during the life of the JLTP”, which sets out plans until 2036.

Chris Warren, chair of Saltford Parish Council, said: “Saltford Parish Council will argue once again that reopening a railway station at Saltford as part of MetroWest is deliverable, affordable, and accords with the overarching aims and policies of the West of England Combined Authority. It is a mission of Saltford Parish Council, supported by residents, to reopen Saltford Station as soon as possible.”

The JLTP also says that priority for buses travelling through Saltford would improve journey times and adds that a bypass has been considered to allow space for this. Further work on the options available will be carried out before a decision on a bypass for Saltford is made, the document says.

Speaking on the JLTP, Mr Bowles said: “This is an ambitious plan to keep people moving and tackle congestion, whilst supporting economic growth. It considers a wide range of options to support sustainable travel including rail, bus, cycling, walking, mass and rapid transit and electric vehicles. Working together, we can ensure that transport in the West of England is fit for the future.”

People across the region are now being asked what they think of the proposals before a final plan is published later this year. Details are available on the website – www.travelwest.info/jltp – where comments can also be submitted until March 20. People can also take part in the consultation at the Regional Transport Forum in Keynsham on March 5.

Anyone interested in attending the forum should register via Eventbrite at regionaltransportforum.eventbrite.co.uk by noon on Monday, March 4. Members of the public will be invited to submit questions related to the agenda items, to GWR, First or the mayor, at the start of the meeting. The forum starts at 4.30pm and will run until 6pm.

Keynsham Town Council’s meeting on Thursday, March 7, will be taking place at 7pm in the Key Centre and all are welcome to attend.