Start again on Thornbury High Street changes, say residents

December 31 2021
Start again on Thornbury High Street changes, say residents

THORNBURY'S new residents' association has called on South Gloucestershire Council to go back to the drawing board over changes to the town's High Street.

The Thornbury Town and District Residents Association (TTADRA) has also called on Metro Mayor Dan Norris not to release up to £4.6 million in funds from the West of England Combined Authority, which the council has asked for to fund permanent changes to the road, without "proper full, thorough and fair consultations".

A ban on through traffic on the High Street, first brought in as a temporary measure in 2020, has sparked petitions, public meetings and the formation of TTADRA.

The council announced in November that buses would be allowed back, but told the Voice it was unable to confirm a date for their return or the "specific routes" involved.

A spokesperson said the council anticipated work on the redesigned High Street would start after Easter 2022.

TTADRA told the Voice it had written to Mr Norris calling on him to reject the council's business case for the work.

The group said in a statement: "SGC need to go back right to the beginning and have proper full, thorough and fair consultations and engagement with the community, not just for the peripheral things that were up for discussion recently but really to get to grips with the fundamentals of the project.

"The existing controls on access should be discontinued and in the meantime, the High Street should return as it was before June 2020."

The group said recent consultations held with council officers in the town had been constructive but asked: "Why has it taken 18 months?"

Mr Norris said the initial £220,000 for the scheme had come from the Department for Transport, adding: "I know that South Gloucestershire was keen to spend the money they had been given by government but the rush-job does not appear to have given an outcome that is acceptable to huge numbers in the community."

Mr Norris said an outline business case had been submitted to WECA "identifying a potential funding ask of £4.6m".

He said a decision as to whether to approve the business case or not could be taken at a committee meeting of the combined authority, at which point people would have the chance to make statements on it.

He said: "I have said that I cannot agree to further funding unless there has been a full, respectful consultation."
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: "We have carried out a wide range of consultation and engagement for Thornbury High Street to gather and understand people’s views, and all comments received have been considered during the adaption of the interim measures and the design of the final vision for the High Street.

"We have continued to engage with residents and businesses throughout and have made a number of changes to improve accessibility and address concerns raised."

More information about TTADRA and its work can be found online at www.thornburyresidents.org.