Minister fears dangers posed by road closure
A PATCHWAY church minister has raised concerns that children are in danger due to the closure of one of the area's main roads.
Father Eugene Campbell of Holy Family Roman Catholic Church has urged his parishioners to respond to South Gloucestershire Council's consultation over the 18-month "experimental" closure of Highwood Road to general traffic.
Writing in a recent parish newsletter, Fr Campbell says he has noticed an increase in traffic using "rat runs" through the Patchway estate since the closure came into effect on October 15.
He has also raised concern over the volume of traffic using Coniston Road and says he has not seen many buses using the new dedicated bus lane in Highwood Road.
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He writes: "I am fearful that with extra traffic using the estate, the residents and especially children are put at more danger with increased vehicles in the area.
"This is supposed to be a temporary closure for 18 months, but will become permanent if we do not make our feelings known."
Fr Campbell told The Post that he has noticed a huge amount of extra traffic using Patchway's residential roads.
"The streets have such a high density of housing, with lots of elderly people and families – I believe if this had happened ten years ago when children were still playing on the streets there would be a high chance of an accident happening," he said.
"The closure is also affecting my parishioners from Pilning and Easter Compton who attend the church – it's harder to get into Patchway and means we are cut off.
"I would urge people to make their feelings known and write to the council."
The road was controversially closed to traffic – except buses, motorbikes, taxis and bicycles – between its junctions with Durban Road and Coniston Road on October 15.
Before the closure town councillors and residents came together to campaign against it, with a petition signed by more than 4,000 people handed to South Gloucestershire Council. Since it has come into effect police have had to warn residents not to flout the closure, and have said anyone who does faces a £30 fine.
A council spokesman said: "An experimental closure order has been in place on Highwood Road since October 15 last year and can run for a period of 18 months.
"The order was introduced to allow the implementation of the Highwood Road scheme to be fully considered in consultation with the local community. Residents are encouraged to make their views known in writing to the council's head of legal and democratic services or by emailing legal firstname.lastname@example.org before the consultation closes on April 19."
More information can be found at www.southglos.co.uk/consultation.