Crews Hole Road – residents express anger at heated meeting

CH webLocal residents vented their anger at plans to turn Crews Hole Road and Beaufort Road into one way systems at a special meeting last night. So many people turned out on a wet and windy evening that the venue at the WoodwiseAcademy quickly reached capacity and about 30 members of the public had to be turned away.

The main aim of the meeting was to discuss the alternative plan for the area put forward by the Save Crews Hole Access Road group and Bristol City Council Area Highways Manager Shaun Taylor was invited along to give his comments. Frustration among the audience was apparent and Chairman Jon Gibson was frequently forced to intervene during the presentations.

Rob Acton-Campbell, Chair of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership explained that funds were currently available through developers’ S106 contributions and the Bristol Enterprise Zone and there was a “real opportunity to do something about the traffic on Crews Hole Road and surrounding areas.”

Freja Shamanka

Freja Shamanka

Shaun Taylor however, explained that the Council had actually considered five different options before settling on its proposal for a one way system and one of the schemes set aside was very similar to the alternative put forward by SCHAR. While re-assuring the meeting that he was happy to re-visit the residents’ preferred scheme, described by SCHAR Chair Freja Shamanka as a plan which includes all road users and addresses locals’ concerns on speed and road safety, the Highways Manager also made clear that the Enterprise Zone funding was entirely conditional on meeting the strategic objective of a Keynsham to Temple Meads cycle way.

Many of the residents, when given their chance to speak from the floor, expressed cynicism that Council’s one way proposal was part of a different agenda to further cycling in the city and was being pushed through at the expense of residents’ interests. Many had only become aware of the plan when it was leaked to The Week In. One resident said that the total funding of around £260,000 would never be enough to solve a problem which has existed around Crews Hole for the last twenty years and what was really need was a major infrastructure investment and better public transport links.

While the Crews Hole Road alternative scheme was published two weeks ago, work is still proceeding on alternative proposals for Beaufort Road and to this end a public meeting is taking place at St Patrick’s School Gym, Blackswarth Road on Tuesday 19th November.