Town council criticise "deeply flawed" road plan
Filton Town councillors have heavily crticised South Gloucestershire planning for the lack of forward thinking on a road widening scheme.
The Town council were recently approached by Mark Shearman, principal engineer for South Gloucestershire council, who requested they would like them to hand over part of Elm Park playing fields to expand the ring road for a filter lane onto Gloucester road North.
Councillors had already rejected the request to hand over land twice, but at last nights full council meeting, representatives from the planning department faced questions and presented their options.
Mark Shearman, principal engineer, said that the area of land was "relatively small" and an "offer to pay for the land" had now been made. This was rejected by Rikki Teml, Filton councillor, who said he was "unaware that any offer of financial compensation had been made".
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Other councillors also confirmed this view, complaining that a separate meeting that took place with with three councillors, had not allowed full council to be involved in the issue and they too were unaware of any financial discussions.When questioned just how much was being offered for the land, Mr Shearman was unable to advise what the amount would be, saying that was matter for another department.
During a presentation lasting nearly an hour and a half, councillors criticised South Gloucestershire planning for the lack of vision and forward planning when it became clear that planning permission for Southmead hospital had been granted in 2009. Councillor Kieran Hyde told those present that at that time developers had committed over a million pound in road improvement funds and yet there had been no progress on the road widening element until recently. He went on to say that recent other changes to lanes had caused traffic chaos and that planning seemed flawed. He also made it clear that he had received different figures on the traffic data supplied from the planning team. At no point could a clear statement be made on how the road widening scheme would improve congestion.
Mark Shearman also explained they only had two weeks left to make a decision otherwise their funds were in danger of being withdrawn. This comment received gasps from the room, whilst it was stated by councillor Bill Moore it all seemed "poor planning". Mr Shearman and his colleagues in attendance received criticism for them coming to a meeting with such short timescales, without the full information.
Residents joined councillors in expressing their concerns saying that even with a filter lane, cars turning on to Gloucester road North or Southmead road, would still simply sit in the grid locked traffic every day. The public expressed the view that planners had not appeared to have considered the future such as the threat to build homes on Filton airfield and that this move was simply playing at trying to fix what is a major issue for Filton in traffic terms.
Another resident said that planning for a college expansion in Stoke Gifford, had only allowed for 30 odd car parking spaces and that bus lanes were swallowing up Filton.
Filton's Labour spokesperson for planning and transport on South Gloucestershire council and the planning select committee, Roger Hutchinson, was unfortunately unable to attend the meeting to face questions.
Councillors advised South Goucestershire representatives that they could meet with them again and with public present if they so wished, however the original council vote against the request stood.