Why were we ignored?
RESIDENTS of a busy Staple Hill road have condemned the recommendation to permanently close two nearby streets as "undemocratic" and a "farce".
South Gloucestershire Council shut Charnell Road and Signal Road, off Teewell Hill, to through traffic last year on a temporary basis, saying the move would help encourage walking and cycling on the nearby Bristol and Bath Railway Path during the Covid lockdown.
After an online consultation, which ended in February, the roads stayed shut as the council considered their future.
Last month residents of Charnell Road and Signal Road were sent letters telling them council officers were recommending the scheme be made permanent.
But people living in other streets nearby say the council has disregarded their opposition, instead basing its decision only on the views of people who live in the two roads.
Residents of Teewell Hill, Teewell Avenue and Lydney Road say the closure has funnelled more traffic through their streets, and are calling on the council to re-think the move.
Neighbourhood campaigner Chris Evans, who raised a petition of more than 130 signatures against the closures last year, said the council's own consultation results showed that, while Charnell Road and Signal Road residents supported them, the majority of people who responded to the consultation did not.
She said the petition and other letters of opposition had "all been ignored" and the process was "undemocratic".
Teewell Hill resident Lindsay Harris said: "In order to make the results more favourable, the responses from anybody except the residents of the closed roads were simply disregarded."
Another Teewell Hill resident, Faye Galvin, said: "There is no evidence that the scheme has met its aims (reducing traffic and making it safer for cyclists) indeed, the council had no stats or figures for the situation before and have done no monitoring during the 'temporary' closures.
"Teewell Hill has become much busier. There have been daily near misses as lorries and cars mount the pavement to squeeze past traffic speeding up the hill to beat the lights.
"This has just moved the problem, not solved it.
"It's a farce that the views of the people in the roads in question are taking precedence over a democratic consultation."
Peter Gomm described the decision as an "absolute disgrace" and said he and fellow Teewell Hill residents were being treated in a "shambolic way".
Juliet Kaszubowski said she regularly had abuse from other motorists as she tried to get on and off her drive in Teewell Hill.
A decision on whether to make the closure permanent was due to be made by the council's director of environment and community services, Nigel Riglar, whose department produced the recommendation.
The move has been welcomed by residents of Charnhill Drive, which connects to Signal Road.
Ray Isaac said traffic on the road had been "terrible" before the closure, with drivers "belting along" it at speed to avoid the traffic lights at the top of Teewell Hill.
He said the road was now only used by people living or visiting homes there and said: "The benefit has been tremendous."
A council spokesperson said: "No decision has been made on whether the measures will be made permanent at this stage.
"An officer report and recommendation will be prepared, which will take into account the comments and feedback received from in and around the area; this will help our director to make an informed decision in partnership with the relevant cabinet member.
"We expect a decision in autumn 2021.
"A recommendation will be made by officers and a decision will be made by the director, in partnership with the relevant cabinet member.
"All petitions submitted to us are considered in line with our official policy and are taken into account as part of the decision making process."
Staple Hill & Mangotsfield ward councillor Ian Boulton said: “I am disappointed that the result of the consultation has been spun to incorrectly suggest that the majority of respondents are in favour of the changes being made permanent.
"I am also disappointed that no effort has been made to address the genuine concerns that people have raised as part of the consultation process”.
• Teewell Hill is set to be closed for three weeks at its junctions with Broad Street and Teewell Avenue while work to upgrade the gas main is carried out.
Wales & West Utilities said work would start on September 27 and finish by October 17 and a diversion route will be "clearly signposted".