Keynsham councillors united over action needed to fix ‘dangerous’ High Street

The six councillors who represent Keynsham on Bath and North East Somerset Council have laid out what they feel needs to be done to improve safety on the High Street.

It follows numerous reports of people tripping and falling over the uneven road surface since a £1.5m “improvement” project was completed in March.

As we reported on our front page in Issue 736 a road safety audit has been carried out in Keynsham High Street and has recommended that B&NES Council makes 15 changes – including making the contraflow cycle lane red, better signs and replacing “incorrect” paving. The changes do not include the removal of the controversial stepped kerb between the cycle lane and the road.

Keynsham councillor Alan Hale revealed the proposals at last month’s Keynsham Area Forum but there has yet to be an official comment from the council or any indication that it will act on them.

Councillors Alan Hale and Lisa O’Brien represent Keynsham South while fellow Conservatives Vic Clarke and Brian Simmons represent Keynsham North. Lib Dem councillors Andy Wait and Hal MacFie serve the Keynsham East ward.

The six met this week “to find a more permanent, cross-party solution” and in a joint statement noted that B&NES had so far “made small attempts to improve safety on the High Street, mainly by installing signs”.

To improve safety for pedestrians, the six councillors have called for:

  • The cycle lane to be raised to make it level with the pavement.
  • The cycle lane to be painted green so it stands out more clearly.
  • The white line that separates the cycle lane to be made thinner so it doesn’t resemble a dropped kerb.

While, due to the poor design of the High Street, these measures may not fix the problems completely, the councillors believe they will make an “enormous” difference to the safety of pedestrians.

Cllr Alan Hale, who is the council’s member advocate for road safety, said: “The redesign of Keynsham High Street has been a disappointing failure. It has resulted in the road being made dangerous for pedestrians, with some residents sustaining serious injuries.

“The meeting with the Lib Dem councillors was productive and I look forward to working with them to get these problems sorted out as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Andy Wait said: “Both Cllr Hal MacFie and I were pleased with the outcome of the joint meeting. Despite our different political views, our main concern is for the welfare of the town as a whole, and these sensible solutions should make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

The council has previously maintained that the scheme complied with the legislation, specification and guidance that regulate the industries involved in both highway design and construction, including the new cycle infrastructure design guidance.