Anger over short-notice plan to shut Stoke Lane
Published on: 11 Apr 2016
Protests are growing over sudden plans to close a vital commuter link to Bristol's north fringe for a year.
The contractors building the £200m MetroBus network propose to shut Stoke Lane to northbound traffic from the Frenchay Park Road junction for 12 months from April 24, 2016.
Traffic will be diverted via the Avon Ring Road, which is likely to further affect journey times for thousands of people trying to get to nursery, school, college, university and work in Filton and Stoke Gifford from Frenchay, Fishponds, Downend and Kingswood.
Road signs went up at the end of last week, only a fortnight before the closure is due to begin. Many people living in the area say they have not received any notification of the plans, which were unexpected. Stoke Lane has had two-way traffic lights for some months, and the original planning application suggested it would be restricted to one-way traffic only for about 12 weeks at some point during the work.
Residents have mobilised opposition to the plans, with more than 1,000 people signing an online petition in less than four days. They have already set up a Facebook group and a website and plan to attend the two information sessions planned next week at UWE on Monday April 18 (1.30-3pm) and at Stapleton and Begbrook Community Centre on Tuesday April 19 (3-8pm).
The contractors, Alun Griffiths, say making the road one-way for 12 months will reduce the time needed to complete the works overall by 37 weeks.
Their letter to residents and businesses says: “We are mindful of the sensitivity to the users of the one-way system and the impact it will have on the surround areas and businesses. However, this has been established as the the lesser impact for the road users than remporary two-way trarric signals for the majority of the scheme.”
But the protesters say they are fed up of not being listened to about the MetroBus, which they say is a “white elephant”, and the impact the creation of the bus-only junction at the M32 is having on the surrounding land.
The MetroBus works are already causing considerable traffic disruption but some residents say the latest proposals are the last straw.