CAMPAIGNERS in Bradford on Avon have cautiously welcomed proposals for curbing the volume of traffic through the town, improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists and reducing air pollution.

They say the option being preferred by Wiltshire Council will provide a fairer solution to the town’s chronic traffic volume, congestion and delay issues.

Wiltshire Council consultants Atkins Realis UK are recommending Option C, a short one-way system in Silver Street and ‘priority narrowing’ in Market Street following a six-month traffic modelling scheme.

It would enable a significant change in the character of the town through limited widening on Market Street and significant footway widening on Silver Street without having a major impact on traffic flows.

Wiltshire Times: Option C Option C (Image: AtkinsRealis UK)

Atkins Realis UK says: “This option also increases the amount of traffic on the New Road / Springfield loop and therefore mitigation measures will need to be developed to calm traffic and enhance pedestrian safety in those locations.

“The next stages of scheme development should consider these measures in detail to demonstrate how the street can be improved to accommodate any increase in traffic and mitigate any impacts.”

Jeremy Wire, active travel lead for Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon, said: “The Active Travel group of Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon provisionally welcome the recommended option, which we are still analysing but think is in line with the Fairer for All scheme that we support.

“Wiltshire Council consultants Atkins Realis have proposed a system for the town that will be fairer for all, with one short one-way on Silver Street and solutions that help all road users.

“Based around a priority shuttle working system including steps to slow traffic, the scheme will also increase cyclist and pedestrian safety.

“Bradford on Avon Town Bridge is the only river crossing in a five-mile stretch of the River Avon, so drivers will always bring some peak hour congestion but this scheme will discourage traffic.

“It will mean less noise and pollution, make it quicker to go by bus or bicycle. It will give more space to cross the road, talk to friends on the street and generally enjoy the town centre.

“Town residents can be reassured that over time these measures will tackle their top priority: reduce the volume of traffic.”

Wiltshire Times: The narrow section leading through Silver Street. Photo: Trevor Porter 70494-1The narrow section leading through Silver Street. Photo: Trevor Porter 70494-1 (Image: Trevor Porter)

Andrew Nicolson, a resident and Living Streets Bradford on Avon Local Group Coordinator, said: “This is a step forward! It’s good news for people wanting to walk for everyday local trips and to enjoy the town.

“Some streets are no-go areas for disabled people in particular. It could be a big boost for Silver Street’s retail businesses and should avoid blighting the ‘New Road Loop’ with continuous heavy traffic, as the 2021 highways social distancing scheme did.

“The devil is in the detail, though, and we look forward to working with both councils to plan properly to maximise the benefits for walking.

“Having funded the study, the town deserves Wiltshire Council finance to make it happen soon! In the long run we hope a well-designed scheme will nudge many through-traffic drivers into travelling some other way, maybe not by car, and get adults and kids walking happily.”

Wiltshire Times: The narrow section leading through Market Street. Photo: Trevor Porter 70494-2The narrow section leading through Market Street. Photo: Trevor Porter 70494-2 (Image: Trevor Porter)

Bradford on Avon Town Council said: “The town council has not yet had an opportunity to discuss the report and consider its own response.

“The town council will now meet directly with Wiltshire Council to discuss the next steps – including a public presentation.

“At the public presentation there will be a chance for residents to make comments on the report and its findings.

“The town council will publicise the date and time of the public presentation as soon as it has been arranged.

“We expect to give residents a further update at the sustainable travel committee meeting on Tuesday, 23 January.”