A ONE way system took one step closer to being agreed after 140 people came out to speak both for and against diverting traffic around Bradford on Avon.

Air quality, public safety and traffic flow were high on people’s concerns as the possibility of stopping cars driving up and down narrow and hilly Market Street was discussed.

The extraordinary meeting was joined by people living on Mason’s Lane, New Road and Woolley Street who all shared their experiences of dangerous speeds, near misses with lorries and rush hour traffic jams on their doorsteps.

Some suggested restricting traffic over the town bridge or even a congestion charge for people who live outside of a BA15 postal code. An estimated 20,000 vehicles use the town bridge every day.

Amanda Swanson lives in the Woolley Street area and said: “I have concerns about a one way system, we had one before and it had an extremely negative effect on the roads. We will incur property damage. I believe air pollution will just be spread not dispersed from the concentrated areas to paces like New Road.”

Ivan Wigham has lived on Masons Lane for the last 19 years. He said: “Yesterday I was walking down Market Street with my two grandchildren and I was frightened to death, I shuffled them against the wall to keep them safe as lorries and large cars passed each other.”

Gerald Millward Oliver added: “We need to come up with a variety of solutions, it is lunacy to go after one simple solution and think that a one way system will be the solution to everything.”

Cllr Mike Roberts called the meeting using a historic bylaw and made his case to launch a trial one way system throughout the town. An amended the motion was proposed by town councillors to call on Wiltshire Council to run computer simulations of different routes the one way system could take before launching the trial.

Cllr Roberts said: “The public deserves this as it has been going on for years. Let's do the trial and prove it does or does not work, then at least we will know."

Michelle Donelan MP agreed it was time for action after years of debating. She also told the audience that the possibility of a bypass around the town will never happen because new developments will make the route extremely complicated,“I have trialled it with numerous ministers but that is off the table there is no economic argument for a bypass.”

Cabinet member for highways Bridget Wayman was not at the meeting but Ms Donelan confirmed that Wiltshire Council would only support the bid if councillors were unanimous in their decision.

After an hour of public questions and debate, Bradford on Avon town council unanimously agreed to support the motion.

Reading out the amendment Cllr Dom Newton said: “We request that Wiltshire Council in light of growing concern from residents undertake computer modelling to understand the scope of any necessary physical trials to rebalance the use of roads in the town.

"Measures may include modelling, trialling and enhancing vehicle restrictions, pavement widening or speed limit reviews. A partial one way system will be determined by modelling and the town council will carrying out public consultation before a trial begins.”

Leader of Bradford on Avon town council Cllr Newton said: “This is not about a single simplistic solution – it was clear from comments all around the room last night that this is a complex problem, and also that Wiltshire Council are rightly wary of taking action that would polarise opinion.”

A further report on traffic in the town is due to be published by Wiltshire Council following surveys carried out in February, however delays mean that the Key Evidence Review Board, or KERB has not yet been published.