Wait goes on for return of buses to Thornbury High Street

July 28 2022
Wait goes on for return of buses to Thornbury High Street

THORNBURY residents have been told there is still no date for the return of buses to the town's High Street.

Services were diverted away to Rock Street when the High Street was closed to through traffic more than two years ago, as part of changes to give pedestrians and cyclists more space, which are now being made permanent.

In November last year, South Gloucestershire Council said plans were being drawn up to reopen the shopping street to buses.

But a date for their return has yet to be made public.

Council leaders were asked when buses would return at a cabinet meeting on July 11.

Local resident Andrew Chubb said: “Are buses coming back to the High Street, and if so, when? Because at the moment they’re still not there.

"Rock Street is still a massive problem. I’ve been in Thornbury for well over 50 years, and previously to the High Street closing I know of one accident on Rock Street.

“Since the scheme has been in place, I know of six incidents on Rock Street, Midland Way and around that area. And the accidents just keep happening.

"The road is too busy and the position of the bus is plain dangerous, and the sooner it moves the better.”

Cabinet councillor Rachael Hunt could not give a date for the return of buses to the High Street but she promised that information would be made public, once council bosses knew themselves.

She said: “Buses will be returning.

"There is a process to go through and there’s processes for bus companies to go through, and also the coordination of the works and the timetabling and what happens when.

"We’ll send that information out as soon as we have it, about when.

"On Rock Street, we’ve acknowledged that changes were needed from that initial scheme that was put in under the pandemic, and that’s where some of the improvements are coming forward."

The controversial changes to the High Street were initially introduced as a covid measure to help local cafes and social distancing.

But they have been fiercely opposed from the start by many residents, with a non-binding parish poll in May seeing 72% of 2,568 voters agree with a proposition that the road should be "returned to its pre-pandemic status of through traffic for all vehicles and timed parking bays on both sides of the carriageway".

Council leader Toby Savage faced heckling from a packed public gallery at a meeting of the West of England Joint Committee on July 1, when the full business case for funding of the £4.6 million scheme was approved, with many complaining their concerns had not been listened to.

Access will still be allowed for deliveries and residents of the street.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service