Campaigners opposed to the construction of a new bus lane on Hatchet Road in Stoke Gifford will have another chance to persuade councillors to abandon the scheme when their 3,200+ signature petition is debated at a full meeting of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) on Wednesday 19th July.
The proposed new southbound bus lane on Hatchet Road will form part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme, which will link The Mall at Cribbs Causeway with Bristol Parkway Station and serve the new developments planned for the former Filton Airfield site.
Local residents and councillors are opposed to the bus lane because it will require mature hedgerows and trees to be removed from both sides of Hatchet Road. They also claim it is a waste of money (costing £2m to reduce bus journey times by just 29 seconds, during the morning peak only) and say they are concerned that its construction will cause severe disruption to traffic in the area.
Their preferred alternative is to review the number of bus stops on Hatchet Road and implement lay-bys at those that are deemed necessary. This, they claim, would facilitate better traffic flow for all road users. SGC’s own figures show that such a scheme would save over £1.25m and achieve improved bus journey time savings in comparison to the bus lane option.
The Journal understands from local SGC councillors that the meeting on 19th July is unlikely to overturn the previous decision, but will instead be asked to consider whether a review of that decision should take place.
Paul Tanner, who fronts the Hatchet Road Action group, said:
“I am delighted that we have managed to get over 3,200 signatures for our petition. This reflects the widespread local support for our campaign and the tremendous efforts of so many people in the action group.”
“Whilst the council may not wish to alter the previous decision of one of its sub-committees at the meeting on 19th July, I would expect, after considering the petition and the presentations made on the evening, to at least get the decision reconsidered in a more open and transparent manner. This may require a further report to the council. I am optimistic that the majority of the councillors will recognize that this is not a party political issue and that the community looks to them to ensure that decisions such as this are made taking full account of the important issues we have raised. This should help to ensure the most cost effective solution is pursued. We continue to believe that the case for the bus lay-by option is far stronger than the bus lane proposal.”
“If we do not get a change to the decision previously made or at least a proper review of that decision then the Action Group will take the petition to the recently elected West of England Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles.”
Last year, the three Stoke Gifford SGC ward councillors, who are all opposed to the bus lane scheme, considered tabling a motion seeking to defer its implementation until the impact of the Stoke Gifford By-Pass is known. They abandoned the idea when they realised it would most likely fail due to a lack of support from their colleagues within the ruling Conservative group.
Asked if anything has changed in the intervening period, Cllr Ernie Brown told the Journal:
“Our research amongst other members at that time did not give us sufficient confidence that we could carry the vote, and we were aware that if the Full Council decided against us, that would be the end of our fight. Now, in the light of the huge petition raised, we are more confident of winning.”
Members of the public wishing to speak at the meeting are required to give notice to the council by noon on the previous day. Notice may be given by phoning the Democratic Services officer on 01454 868198 or by emailing the address shown on the agenda.
Photo: Members of the Action Group at a bus stop on Hatchet Road
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 31). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
POSTSCRIPT (16th July 2017): The contents of a note circulated by the Action Group to all South Glos councillors ahead of the meeting has been published on the Hatchet Road 2016 page on Facebook.