From being an isolated rural community near the end of Howsmoor Lane, the Taylor family say life for them and their neighbours has been turned upside down as the new Lyde Green village takes shape around them.
The building work has been going on for some 18 months but Gerald Taylor fears the upheaval could go on for years as 2,500 homes are being built at Emersons Green East over the next decade. Over at Emersons Green West, 2,800 homes have already been built.
Lyde Green village will have a primary and secondary school, leisure facilities, a local centre and employment opportunities. The developers include Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Linden Homes, Barratt and Charles Church.
The Taylors acknowledge that they will benefit from the new facilities being built on their doorstep, including having buses and shops nearby, as they get older. But they say the daily problems in their lane are making their lives hell.
Last week Mr Taylor invited local South Glos councillor Steve Reade (Con, Boyd Valley) and The Week In to find out what has been going on.
The lane has been at times so caked up with mud caused by construction lorries or flooded from the run-off from the site that it is virtually impassable. In places there are deep potholes. Verges have been badly damaged and at one spot, where a new development route crosses the lane, pictured above, Mr Taylor says there has been no look-out in place when vehicles cross over.
There have also been occasions when lorries have become wedged in the lane, blocking it for several hours.
People driving up or down the lane run the risk of meeting a lorry coming the other way and Mr Taylor says that can be an “intimidating” experience.
Friends now consider it too dangerous to visit. It is also too risky for the Taylors to take their grandson for a walk, while Mr Taylor’s 93-year-old mother Margaret, who has lived there since 1970, no longer feels safe going out.
Mr Taylor said Parcelforce also refuses to come down the lane and their postman comes under fire from his managers because of the permanent muddy state of his vehicle.
He says he has lost count at the number of times he has raised concerns about planning conditions not being adhered to but it is approaching 100.
The Week In has seen an email from South Gloucestershire Council’s head of streetcare and transportation dated 9th June 2014 in which he says Howsmoor Lane is a public highway and neither the council nor police can take action against vehicles using it.
He wrote: “I am aware Persimmon Homes are accessing their development along the lane as currently they have no alternative route through the development, the same is true of Britannia Construction who are constructing elements of infrastructure for Emersons Green East.”
He added that the situation would change in the next month for Persimmon Homes when a section of development infrastructure was due to be completed, allowing access from within the main development area: “We are working with Persimmon to proceed to use this new entrance as soon as it is available.”
Mr Taylor maintains that at that time Persimmon did have an access through the science park and through the main exit off the Rosary roundabout – but regardless of that lorries are still using Howsmoor Lane.
The entrance to Howsmoor Lane is opposite the National Composite Centre on the Bristol & Bath Science Park. The Week In understands that mud on the road near the science park was the cause of accident involving a cyclist who broke several bones while travelling to work.
Cllr Reade said it was “completely and utterly unacceptable that residents should feel imprisoned and isolated”. He held a meeting with council officers on Friday, “making it very clear that the residents of Howsmoor Lane feel trapped in their homes”.
He said: “I gained assurances that this should not be happening and that contact would be made with the construction companies to point out the problems.”
All contractors will be advised that they should be using the new roads for any movements and all residents will receive personal notification of works taking place that will affect them.
When a new road crossing is constructed later this month, residents will be advised of the alternative route to and from their homes through the development.