No bypass on the cards for Saltford
By BeckyFeather | Friday, September 28, 2012, 15:28
With around 30,000 vehicle movements a day through Saltford, 70 per cent of villagers have said they would like a bypass built - but hopes of anything happening in the foreseeable future have been dashed.
The A4 through Saltford
Villagers have campaigned off and on for more than three decades for a bypass for the A4. But Bath and North East Somerset Council says there is no money to investigate the idea - and no feasible route for such a road.
Instead the council is concentrating on improving public transport including spending £100,000 on a study into the possible reopening of the village railway station, which closed more than 40 years ago.
In the Saltford Parish Plan 70 per cent of respondents (730) said they were in favour in principle of Saltford being bypassed, with 20 per cent (205) against and 10 per cent (108) of no opinion.
Those in favour of a bypass said it would lead to a better quality of life, with less noise and pollution, improved safety, and a united village.
The main concerns of those who opposed a bypass were damage to the Green Belt and countryside generally, and the risk of a reduction in trade for Saltford's shops.
Cllr Mathew Blankley (Con, Saltford) said: "A Saltford bypass is something which has been mooted as a possibility for a long time, but no feasibility study has been undertaken for many years.
"A commitment to looking at a Saltford bypass is within the council's core strategy and Local Transport Plan, so it's very disappointing that the Lib Dem cabinet is refusing to put any funding towards a study.
"There would of course be many hurdles to jump before a bypass could become a reality, not least what route it could take and the need for central government funding. But unless B&NES takes the lead and carries out a study, we will never know whether these issues are resolvable."
And Cllr Francine Haeberling (Con, Saltford) said: "The council should be open to looking at all options for improving transport and reducing traffic and pollution."
But B&NES cabinet member for transport, Cllr Roger Symonds (Lib Dem, Combe Down), said the volume of traffic through Saltford had actually decreased in recent years.
"What we are doing is extending the park and ride at Newbridge, getting new park-and-ride buses, and ensuring the bus route between Bath and Bristol is made more attractive, with real time information," he said.
"There is a vast amount of support for the reopening of the station and that's what we're moving ahead with."
He added: "I'm not sure where the Tories think a bypass is going to go. There is no route for the bypass."
A public meeting about the proposed reopening of Saltford station will be held in Saltford Hall on Thursday, October 25 at 8pm
Would you want to see a Saltford bypass? If so, where would it go?