Campaigning for the positive and sustainable development of Radstock

Stop the Road!

Latest Radstock Road Traffic Orders from BANES (16th December 2013)

Anyone who ever had any doubts about the proposed changes to the roads in Radstock should look at the latest published plans (see links below). These are allegedly a part of a public consultation so please get your comments in as soon as possible - we have objected to Boxing Day as a closure date. The first shows a map of proposed changes. The second tells you exactly what they are proposing to do.

Send your comments to: Andy Coles, BANES Traffic Management and Network Team. Email: andy_coles@bathnes.gov.uk

Map of proposed changes (177KB pdf) | Statement of Reasons (296KB pdf)

Planning Application Drawing showing proposed road scheme with crossings, lights etc.

SAVE THE HEART OF RADSTOCK – SAY 'NO' TO THE LATEST PROPOSALS

SOME FAQs:

What is the reference for the latest planning applications?

There are two applications: 13/02436/EOUT – for most of the proposals and 13/02534/CA for the demolition of the rail underpass and other key rail structures

Where can I see the plans?

You can look online by clicking here.

What is the last date for submission of comments?

According to the BANES website it is 22 July 2013 but we have been given supplementary information which says, ‘the consultation period on our website remains open whilst all consultations are taking place. We will take into consideration all comments received up until a decision is made.’ We think it’s likely that the planning application will not be heard till September, but get your responses in as soon as possible to be sure of getting them taken into account.

Is the road really still going ahead?

Many people think the road has ‘gone away’. It hasn’t. BANES still wants to bring a new road across the front of Victoria Hall from Frome Road to the Street.

What are the key points about the road proposals, over and above introducing through traffic into the centre of town?

  • Two way traffic in the Street
  • Traffic flow in Fortescue Road reversed direction
  • All traffic out of Fortescue Road to turn left
  • Two way traffic and bus stops on new road in front of Victoria Hall
  • Will signal the end of the rail reinstatement to Frome

Who should I send my comments to?

Sarah James, Senior Planning Officer, Major Development Team: sarah_james@bathnes.gov.uk

Make sure you include the case references and state that you are objecting.

You should also send copies to:

LATEST NEWS:

We asked BANES to clarify various dates and questions on making the planning application accessible. Development Control has replied as follows (on 23 july 2013):

  • Neighbours are given a 21 day consultation period in line with statutory requirements; however the consultation period on our website remains open whilst all consultations are taking place. We will take into consideration all comments received up until a decision is made.
  • The conservation area consent can be found under reference number 13/02534/CA.
  • Following your conversation with the department yesterday a hard copy of the application has been arranged to be delivered to Radstock library.

[5th August 2013]: How much can you cram into one small town centre? Ask BANES

Lights and crossings galore

Further details have emerged of what the new NRR (Norton Radstock Regeneration Company) proposals have in store for Radstock Town centre. Anyone who's ever been to Radstock knows how compact the town centre, including the Conservation Area, is, with streets built for a small settlement and bordered by shops, the Methodist Church, the doctors' surgery, the Working Men's Club, the bank and other amenities.

But not daunted by the small scale of this historic town, the NRR proposals, as confirmed by BANES Senior Planning Office, will boast all of the following:

  • Four roundabouts: two new ones and the double mini-roundabouts that exist already
  • Five pedestrian crossings, including the current three 'signalised' ones and two new zebras, one on the Street and one outside the Victoria Hall

So there you have it - a veritable glut of features which will have only one result, to clog up the centre of the town. Who thought this up? It's not immediately obvious but must be someone who hasn't spent any time in Radstock and who hasn't realised that if you put all these items in such a small space, then you are asking for trouble and flying in the face of current planning principles. You can see the plan, as provided by BANES, here.

Restrictions, street furniture, chaos to match

Not content with this, however, the proposals also include the introduction of two way traffic into the Street and forcing all traffic from Fortescue Road (direction reversed) to turn left opposite RADCO. then there are the bus stops outside the Victoria Hall, the allocation of as yet poorly defined parking which must address the needs of people living in the proposed housing development (which doesn't have enough space for all residents' parking) and must also make up for the loss of the Victoria Hall car park.

And there will be street furniture galore, telling us about parking restrictions, weight restrictions, speed restrictions, one way and two way traffic flows.

In exchange for what? A completely new road through the town centre, the loss of the possible reinstatement of the railway, the loss of public open space, the building of some cramped homes which could be readily accommodated elsewhere in the town.

As Radstock Action Group has pointed out many times, it is never too late for a rethink. We urge everyone to object to the current proposals which can be viewed by googling: 13/02436/EOUT. Please note that although the page states that comments are no longer invited, this is a technicality and BANES has confirmed that all comments are acceptable until such time as the decision is made.

Radstock Action Group welcomes Councillor Howard Murray, the driving force behind the Poynton shared space system

Meanwhile on a more cheerful note. Councillor Howard Murray from Poynton will be in Radstock, at the invitation of Radstock Action Group, on Thursday 29 August to give a presentation about the way the Poynton Project has developed. Want to find out more? Please contact us.

[1st July 2013]: Radstock Action Group visits Poynton 25 June 2013

Radstock Action Group visits Poynton 25 June 2013

Radstock Action Group visits Poynton 25 June 2013

[1st July 2013]: BANES continues to flog the dead horse - the planning applications for Radstock Railway Land rise again from the grave

Planning Applications for Radstock Railway Land are back - it's the same old, same old

It came as no surprise to see that BANES has received a planning application* (see below) for the Railway Land in Radstock. The application comes from the NRR, an organisation which barely exists, and which is seamlessly interwoven with BANES itself.

The key aspect of this whole unwanted scheme is that the latest application, like all its predecessors, simply and blatantly fails to address the fact that local people have, time and again, said they do not want this scheme which will do absolutely nothing for the town's regeneration and will simply lead to more traffic, more pollution and the loss of a central amenity which should be regarded as an asset to be redeveloped so as to enable the reinstatement of the railway and the preservation of open space for the use of the community.

BANES must suspend judgment and think again - think Poynton

Meanwhile on Tuesday 25 June, four RAG supporters went to Poynton, in Cheshire, to see the road system which has been introduced to relieve congestion and encourage regeneration in the town (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vzDDMzq7d0).

What an inspiration. We were welcomed by Councillor Howard Murray the lead councillor on this project, we looked round the town and were given a detailed presentation on the preparations for the changes and on the ways in which the new road scheme has transformed the town. It has been and continues to be a demanding process and we heard it, warts and all. Working with Hamilton-Baillee Associates, an organisation with 'specialist knowledge and experience of innovative solutions for reconciling traffic movement with quality public spaces in cities, towns and villages', Poynton has been transformed from an ex-mining town in urgent need of regeneration, into an ex-mining town with a future, a busy town centre and greatly improved footfall and activity in shops and services. As RAG supporter Esther Parker put it, 'Going to visit Poynton, an old mining town with its own double roundabout system was an inspiring experience, standing watching cars, vans and large lorries, many from abroad, move steadily through without being impeded, unlike at the Radstock junction'.

Poynton leads the way

Poynton shows that a shared space scheme works. As far as traffic flow is concerned two phrases used repeated by Councillor Murray describe the operation: 'Peep and creep' and 'progression not aggression' - both of which have become bywords in the town. Three months after the changes took effect, 40% of shop keepers reported increased footfall and 36% said it had stayed the same, with 88% reporting varying degrees of growth in business. The range of shops improved, the quality of public space went up, the town was agreed to feel safer and more secure in the evenings, vandalism and anti-social behaviour have declined, conditions for motorists are much better ..... the pluses are so many. And there has not been a single accident caused by the scheme. As pedestrians we were able to cross the roads easily and safely wherever we chose, motorists were considerate, friendly and accommodating and traffic kept moving, including at the double rotaries (equivalent to flat roundabouts). Levels of noise and air pollution seemed to us to be much lower.

The council had, at all stages, made sure that they could get 'public fingerprints on the design'; they found that council investment encouraged others; they have paid attention to retail, cultural, environmental and engineering aspects, all guided by the Poynton Revitalisation Scheme Steering Group. They have learnt lots of lessons, including the absolute value of regular and informative communication with everyone likely to be affected, the need for expert specialist designers, as opposed to local authority traffic engineers. And the work goes on.

Poynton is now a well-known town worldwide, with frequent enquiries and expressions from interest from movers and shakers who see the scheme as an innovative and positive way forward for their communities.

We felt privileged to be visitors to Poynton.

BANES - it is not too late for a rethink

Radstock Action Group calls on BANES to do two things:

  1. Suspend all current thinking on the proposals for Radstock Town Centre
  2. Look at the Poynton experience and prepare to listen and work with local people to enhance the town centre - BANES councillors will be given a warm welcome in Poynton and will be able to see for themselves the transformation of this other former mining town which had two railway lines and one level crossing ...

* On the afternoon of Monday 24 June, BANES Development Control announced the new planning application for the Railway Land in Radstock - the expiry date for consultation is 22 July. It was eventually possible to view the documentation on line on on Thursday 27 July. This is only to be expected as BANES prefers to ask for comments in periods when most people are either already on holiday or planning their breaks.

Radstock Action Group will be drawing up objections to the plans which, in substance, remain the same as previous proposals - roads, housing of questionable standards, generally inappropriate development of the key site in the town centre. The application can be viewed at: http://isharemaps.bathnes.gov.uk/projects/bathnes/developmentcontrol/default.aspx?requesttype=parsetemplate&template=DevelopmentControlApplication.tmplt&Filter=^REFVAL^=%2713/02436/EOUT%27 and searches for 13/02436/EOUT will eventually get you to the details. There is also an new application for demolition of the underpass (Ref: 13/02534/CA). We urge everyone who cares about the future of Radstock to start preparing their objections and to send the council their creative alternatives to this completely unacceptable hotchpotch of proposals which have failed to show how regeneration will be achieved.

[3rd June 2013]: Think what £1,556,000 could do for Radstock

So the government's Department for Transport is going to give Radstock £1,089,000. And BANES, is going to top up this generous offer with £467,000 to bring us to £1,556,000. This huge amount should be welcome, but wait a minute - what's it for? To build a very short stretch of road which no-one wants and which will bring main road traffic into the town centre. Just stop and think how much could actually be done to help Radstock with this amount if it were used responsibly.

According to Travel West, the local consortium of relevant bodies responsible for the Joint Local Transport Plan, this money is for a project 'forming part of our plan to reduce car dependency and congestion'. Perhaps someone can explain how this proposed new road, bringing main road traffic through the small and compact town centre can possibly fufill this objective. A new road will increase car presence in the town, get in the way of the reinstatement of the railway - something which would seriously relieve car dependency- and bring noise a air pollution to new highs thus diminishing the quality of life and the health of local people.

Derek Quilter BANES Divisional Director of Development and Major Projects, and not a well-known face in Radstock, seems to think that 'Urgent investment in transport infrastructure' is needed'. The problem is that he thinks putting main road traffic on a new road through the town centre is a contribution to improvement of this same transport infrastructure. BANES claims that the road will 'help people move around the town better, relieve congestion and pave the way for new homes' - but they do not explain how.

And the government thinks the money is designed to 'target key bottlenecks, making life easier for the thousands of motorists and businesses who use the local road network'. But they all seem to be ignoring the well-known fact that if you build a new road, new traffic comes to fill it.

As usual, Paul Crossley, BANES leader (Lib Dem, Southdown in Bath) has chosen to ignore the facts and drift off into general statements about the benefits of regeneration - yes Councillor Crossley we are all in favour of regeneration but you need to explain how this road will help.

Lateral thinking needed

Meanwhile, Radstock Action Group is looking at fresh ways of dealing with the town centre and helping to bring regeneration.

We are going to be visiting Poynton in Cheshire where the Council has taken brave and imaginative steps to tackle the nuisance of main road traffic through the town by introducing a shared space approach which we think could be equally well applied to Radstock. Anyone interested can watch this brief video about it:

RAG will also be writing to the government's Department for Transport pointing out the contradictions in this grant and suggesting ways in which £1m could really help the town.

We urge everyone to make suggestions about how £1,556,000 could be spent to aid regeneration and let BANES and the government know.

The big questions remain:

The questions that are still unanswered are:

  1. How can this scheme reduce car dependency?
  2. Will the government and BANES invest in public transport to aid regeneration, ease congestion and help people move around better?
  3. How will this scheme improve employment?
  4. Why bring a new road through town when this is at odds with best practice, will jeopardise the Victoria Hall, local trade and the health and safety of the people who use the town centre?
  5. How much is the road going to cost? The price has been going up and is already £335,000 more than BANES was claiming only a few months ago.

Local people signed a petition against the road in their thousands, but this doesn't appear to have helped a rethink. The campaign to save the heart of Radstock goes on.

[9th May 2013]: Victoria Hall with the new road

These two mock-ups show what the traffic will be like outside the Victoria Hall if the new road is built. the first one includes a truck which conforms to the weight limit BANES says will be in place. The second one is an oversize truck - BANES has failed to explain how they will enforce the weight limit on vehicles.

Victoria Hall

Victoria Hall

[12th March 2012]: Will politicians and planners learn the lessons from the temporary four way traffic lights in Radstock?

The presence of Wessex Water's four way traffic light system in Radstock must surely have taught politicians and planners some important lessons. Radstock Action Group hopes that the lessons will be applied to the current road proposals without delay.

  1. Radstock does not normally have a traffic problem - the alleged congestion which BANES says is being solved by the new road system quite simply doesn't exist. Of course, at peak times, there are queues and drivers have to wait for short periods, but these delays compare favourably with the sort of hold-ups that occur regularly in Bath and elsewhere, and are a part of everyday life in all towns in the twenty first century. The only solution is to provide a reasonably priced, reliable, frequent public transport system.
  2. The more obstacles you put in the way of the traffic, the longer the queues and delays. Thus when the traffic lights system as in operation, tailbacks developed instantly, trucks were seen having to go over curbs to get round, buses ran late.
  3. When drivers have to wait more than what they regard as a reasonable time, they take avoiding action. In the case of Radstock, they stopped coming into town to do their shopping; they pioneered new rat runs, thus disrupting other communities; and they took their business elsewhere.

And so, the big question remains. Why is BANES intent on introducing permanent obstacles to previously satisfactory traffic flow? Why are they pursuing, for example:

  1. The introduction of two new roundabouts in the town centre
  2. The introduction of a traffic system which will require more pedestrian crossings to keep people safe, so that, for example, anyone turning out of Fortescue Road (an obligatory left turn in the new regime) will have to negotiate traffic coming from the right, deal with a pedestrian crossing going across to RADCO and a new roundabout at the bottom of Wells Road, all in the space of less than 100 metres
  3. The introduction of a 'give way' from Church Street to enable traffic on the proposed new road link to go down the Street

Unenforceable restrictions

We saw clearly that the 'Access only' restriction for traffic coming down Bath Old Road during the Wessex Water four way traffic lights phase, could not be enforced, so why is there any reason to suppose that the proposed 20mph and 7.5 tonne limits on the new link road will be enforceable? They won't - anyone with the slightest imagination can work out what will follow when 44 tonne trucks meet in the newly two way Street and so on.

Health and Safety should come first

The health and safety of everyone who works, lives in or visits Radstock should be paramount. So far, BANES has not produced a safety audit for the proposed new road scheme. The authority has a duty of care to those who will be affected by any new development and must show, beyond question, that new proposals are safe. Whether it's air pollution caused by increased numbers of queuing vehicles, traffic flows involved in unsafe compulsory manoeuvres or two way traffic involving heavy goods vehicles in narrow shopping streets, the planned package looks anything but safe.

Take advantage of Radstock's unique blend of shops and services

The traders in our very special shopping centre deserve a better deal - let's leave the centre of Radstock alone - this way customers can resume their shopping in the knowledge that hold-ups were a temporary hiccup and that parking will be available as they drop in to make their favourite purchases. Every thriving town needs varied and quality traders - that's what Radstock has.

We urge BANES to think again and to listen to the people who know. These people have repeatedly made their views known - they live in and use the town. The council should work with the local people to develop true regeneration in the town. It is not too late.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[20th February 2012]: Wessex Water Sewer Works provide a Test Run for Radstock's Future

Chaos in Radstock as obstacles accumulate and shoppers go elsewhere

A Wessex Water person was putting back the sign in Bath Old Road - it said, 'No through traffic: Access Only'. It was just a pity that drivers trying to get into Radstock last week were taking absolutely no notice and were using this rat run from Peasedown Flat in a vain attempt to get round the queues coming down the main A367 road from Bath direction. The employee explained that, much as he sympathised, it was not his job to try and police this restriction.

Meanwhile in the centre of town, the traders were at the sharp end of customers giving up and going elsewhere. There was an uncanny number of parking spaces available in Fortescue Road - no-one could reach them without a wait of up to an hour, sometimes even more, to get into the centre.

There's nothing temporary about this scenario

Whilst BANES has been keen to suggest that this is just a temporary inconvenience, those who oppose the road have seen their worst case scenarios coming to fruition since the Wessex Water works began. There is no reason to believe that things are going to get any better. Radstock will experience a loss of trade, drivers will experience long delays and continue to avoid the town centre once they realise what is going on. The BANES road proposals will make permanent the sort of problems that Wessex Water is creating for a limited period. There will be no going back.

Surely no traffic engineer could have dreamt this up?

The temporary sets of traffic lights in the town constitute obstacles to the smooth running of traffic, as will the new roundabouts that BANES continues to insist they will be putting in - and the roundabouts (at Charltons and at the junction of The Street and the A367) will be permanent.

Until all the traffic decides to go elsewhere, there will be delays as, for example, vehicles back up into Wells Hill waiting for traffic to turn right into The Street; this traffic will be negotiating road with all the traffic which will be obliged to turn left out of Fortescue Road and do a complete round of the new roundabout at The Street before returning to Bath direction. And, just as no-one can police the temporary sign in Bath Old Road, there will be no-one to police the 7.5 tonne weight limit which BANES says it will impose on traffic using the new road from Charltons in Frome Road to The Street.

Trade in Fortescue Road, with its newly reversed traffic flow, will dry up as drivers wanting to get to Bath and all directions other than Wells and Haydon will have to turn left out of Fortescue Road and whilst taking care not to injure anyone on the pedestrian crossing, will also have to proceed to the new roundabout at the junction with The Street. Why would they bother? They'll avoid shopping in Radstock.

What is it about 'NO to the road' that BANES doesn't understand?

According to BANES the majority of people in Radstock are in favour of the above chaotic scenario. But this is not so. Thousands have now signed petitions against the new road, in favour of keeping the Jubilee Oak and in favour of the reinstatement of the rail link between Radstock and Frome. In addition, they have held vigils, hung ribbons, demonstrated outside the Guildhall, spoken at Council meetings, written to their elected 'representatives' and the newspapers. They have been on TV and radio. They have made suggestions about better ways to regenerate Radstock. They have done everything possible to convince BANES that Radstock deserves better.

In the past week, supporters of Radstock Action Group have been asked by even more people, 'What is the point of replacing the Jubilee Oak with a traffic roundabout? Why does The Street have to become two way? Why do we need a new road? Why hasn't a full safety audit of the proposals been done as required?' and so on. More and more people are now beginning to realise that the BANES proposals are not in the best interests of the town; that the computer generated modelling of the new road scheme was done by the same means as the one that has resulted in the unresolved problems on Silver Street in Midsomer Norton.

Time for constructive discussions

BANES can either carry on and oversee the demise of everything that makes 'the best-preserved mining town centre in the country' special, or it can admit that it needs to listen to those who know - the people who visit, live and/or work in Radstock. They will find a place brimming with ideas, expertise and enthusiasm for a bright future for their home town. What happened to Lib Dems listening pledges? it is not too late to have a rethink. This is our town, please treat it with respect.

We urge everyone to make a particular effort to get to our shops - they are at the heart of the town and provide a huge range of interesting, original and essential products and services.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[13th February 2012]: Radstock Ribbon Wrap runs out of Ribbon as anger grows about BANES plans

Overwhelming support for keeping the Jubilee Oak

On Saturday 11 February, Radstock Action Group invited people to express their opposition to the road plans and their support for the Jubilee Oak by signing a ribbon to tie on the old Jubilee Oak Tree. The support was outstanding - even by Radstock standards. By midday, the ribbon had run out. It provides more evidence of the massive strength of feeling in the town against the plans of Bath and North East Somerset (BANES).

BANES says it is going to go ahead with the road. Many of the people who came to sign ribbons on Saturday were angry and shocked to discover that the plans are still proceeding and that even the Jubilee Oak is not to be spared if BANES gets its way. People came specially to sign a ribbon, to talk about their own opposition to what is going on, to find out more. The oak tree is simply one of the many features of Radstock which will disappear.

People round the country are planting new Jubilee Oaks - so BANES opts to chop one down - it's been there since 1897

People constantly referred to the fact that the Queen and communities round the country are all planting trees to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee whilst BANES is determined to destroy the Oak planted in Radstock in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

A week marked by the devastation of the conservation area as path of new road is driven through town

The ribbons for the oak came at the end of a bad week for Radstock - Monday's acts of destruction by the council and outside contractors who between them flattened the railway land and the trees were followed by further works supposedly creating a compound for builders on the site. Anyone who had any doubts about the way the new road will wreck the town, can now survey the devastation, the original site of the war memorial and the gardens it still has, are now in the direct path of the road development. Just behind it, where beautiful trees stood, there are ugly now stumps - these too will be swallowed up by the road. A press release justifying the work was issued a day after irreversible damage had been done.

Why isn't BANES putting the needs of Radstock first?

The new road is not all that awaits 'the best preserved mining town centre in the country' (English Heritage). The centre of Radstock is destined to become marooned in a traffic system designed to speed through traffic on its way; proposed housing will be of questionable quality and destroy the character of the town.

Once again, people repeatedly said, 'Why are they doing this? What's in it for Radstock?' Unfortunately, BANES have never been able to answer these questions. Even though over 2,000 people signed the petition against the road. And that is why Radstock Action Group will continue to campaign against these plans and for the genuine regeneration of Radstock. RAG urges everyone to continue to contact the Council and remind them that residents, traders and visitors all want to see a regeneration not degeneration of this historic place. The Liberal Democrats in charge of BANES told us they would listen - they haven't done so yet.

On Tuesday, David Woodland for ITV West Country Tonight told viewers that the town centre 'is a complicated knot of roads that have been tied here over the centuries. It was proving difficult today to find anyone who had confidence the council’s plan would untangle that knot’.

It was proving equally difficult on Saturday as people marked the danger to the Jubilee Oak and to the very heart of the town.

Save Radstock - NO to the Road - Put Radstock First

Photos of the Radstock Ribbon Wrap are on our Facebook page and will soon be on our website too. Photos of the devastation in town are already available.

Press release issued by Radstock Action Group on 13 February 2012

BANES issues belated press release on the works going on in Radstock 6 February 2012

Click here to read read BANES latest statement about what's going on in Radstock - issued after they had chopped down many trees and turned the site into a muddy wasteland, in the middle of the best preserved mining town centre in the country.

[6th February 2012]: Radstock road construction works starting? Radstock will be the last to know.

RENEWED ACTIVITY ON RAILWAY LAND INDICATES ROAD BUILDING MAY BE STARTING

Last Friday (3 February) there was renewed contractor activity on the Railway Land. It's difficult to know how long it lasted or what they were doing. One thing is certain – they will be back.

Of course, the fact that the Wessex Water operations are starting this week enables BANES to begin all sorts of activity under cover of the inevitable disruption from the sewer works.

It seems highly likely that the subway and the footpath across the railway land will be closed and there are undoubtedly going to be trees in danger.

This is all that we know at present. Apart from two particularly salient facts:

  1. The leader of BANES, Councillor Paul Crossley is on record as having said publicly, several times that if there are no houses, there will be no road. There is currently no operable planning permission for the site in existence, so it's clear that nothing should be happening.
  2. There has been no Safety Audit for the new traffic system proposed – such an audit is a requirement which BANES has not met.

YET AGAIN TOTAL LACK OF TRANSPARENCY

True to past form, those who will be most affected by the proposed new road, the residents, businesses and visitors, are not even accorded the courtesy of being told what is being done to their town. Having taken no account of the views expressed in their latest ‘consultation', BANES appears determined to carry on with their plans which will render Radstock a housing estate at a road junction. So much for the Lib Dem declaration that they listen.

CORE STRATEGY EXAMINATION UNDERLINES BANES DETERMINATION TO TURN RADSTOCK INTO A COMMUTERS HOUSING ESTATE

As the Inspector continues to examine the BANES Draft Core Strategy, further evidence is emerging, through the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), of BANES intention to grab as many sites as possible in Radstock for building homes on, at the expense of potential jobs, with previously work-dominated sites being proposed for housing and the clear admission by BANES at the session devoted to the Somer Valley that 'self-containment will worsen'. This is planning speak for more people will have to out-commute to work; in other words that there will be more homes built than jobs created (roughly to the tune of 2,700 homes to 1,000 jobs in the Somer Valley as a whole). And Radstock, is in their sights, as the place where a disproportionate number of these homes will be built.

RADSTOCK NEEDS REGENERATION - WHY WON'T BANES TALK TO THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW BEST?

What has BANES got to worry about? Everyone is keen to have a dialogue about the future of Radstock. Everyone wants their suggestions to be put into the mix. What is needed now, as a matter of urgency, is the development of a strategic action plan for the town, lots of joined up thinking and a considerable hike in the ambitions that BANES has for the town - a hike that will match local ambitions and reflect the potential as well as the history of the place.

FINALLY

Radstock Action Group asks every single BANES councillor to think about how they would feel if their town or neighbourhood was the object of ill-thought out plans, so damaging and unpopular that secrecy became the key word in securing the changes. A situation in which local people's letters and comments were ignored, aspersions cast on the good intentions and integrity of those seeking to defend their town/neighbourhood from inappropriate development.

Perhaps then, having done this, these same councillors would have a rethink about Radstock.

Radstock Action Group will be renewing its calls to Councillor Crossley to stop this proposed road before it is too late and invites others to do likewise.

RADSTOCK ACTION GROUP SAYS 'SAVE THE HEART OF RADSTOCK - STOP THE ROAD'.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[16th January 2012]: Cabinet decision to accept road proposals - the fight to save Radstock goes on

CABINET CLAIMS THEY HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE MAJORITY OF RADSTOCK PEOPLE

When BANES Cabinet met last week and approved unpopular proposals to impose a set of traffic arrangements on the centre of Radstock, no-one was particularly surprised as Cabinet members had been making it clear that they were intent on voting their flawed plans through regardless of the opposition.

The Cabinet meeting itself was little more than a charade for the councillors who tried to convince the meeting, with their series of often heard mantras, that the plans had the support of the majority of people in Radstock, that there had been a meaningful consultation and that their proposals would bring regeneration to the town.

LIB DEMS FAIL TO PRODUCE EVIDENCE TO BACK UP THEIR CLAIMS

They have failed to produce any evidence in support of any of these three assertions, or their other claims, which have been characterized by their lack of accuracy and their denial of the force of the many arguments which have been put forward against the plans. Those who oppose the plans know that they will render Radstock unsafe and ultimately an empty shell as people seek to avoid the town owing to poor traffic flow, lack of parking and poorer shopping facilities.

RADSTOCK IS FIGHTING BACK

Individuals have already started telling councillors how shocked they are by the decision. Everyone in Radstock is in favour of regeneration, despite the Lib Dems suggesting that those who oppose their plans are not. Most people know equally well that the current proposals will do nothing to help the town. It is time for real consultation to start. The businesses, residents and those who shop in and visit the town are those who are best equipped to plan their own future and we hope that before long, everyone can be asked real questions in meaningful, joined up and holistic strategic planning. The Lib Dems claim they are listening - if they are, they are listening and then just carrying on regardless with their plans.

CALL-IN REQUIRED

BANES councillors can arrange a call-in for the decision - it requires ten signatures and we hope that there will be ten councillors willing to give Radstock a chance to prosper rather than watching as the heart of the town is irreversibly damaged by this set of proposals.

CABINET DECISION IS UNWISE, UNSAFE AND BASED ON HALF TRUTHS

  • No independent safety audit has been done
  • The 'consultation' questions did not ask for views on the real issues which had led to the decision being deferred last year in the face of massive opposition
  • Cllr Crossley (leader) has said there will be no road if there are no houses - so why is a decision being made at this point, given that there is no 'live' planning application in existence?
  • Why did Cabinet hear that only 17 parking spaces would be lost when we know that the only way of arriving at this number is by counting all parking spaces on any new development as public spaces? If homes are ever built, they will have no dedicated parking spaces, residents will have to park on the public highway where the number of spaces will be fewer than now
  • 2000 people signed the RAG petition against the road

And so on ...

MORATORIUM REQUESTED

In a separate move, local resident, Rupert Bevan and eleven other individuals* wrote to BANES Council Leader, Paul Crossley, last Monday to request that there should be a one year moratorium on all decisions and implementation of decisions already made in relation to the road system and the proposed development of the NRR site and wider conservation area. They proposed setting up a company for which the first remit will be the drawing up of a redevelopment plan with inputs from as many appropriately qualified professionals as necessary. This will ensure that the plan will work and reflect best practice for regeneration purposes. The letter states that contributions will be welcomed from local people, planning and legal professionals, civil engineers and those involved in commerce, together with those who have a commitment to preserving the town’s heritage.

* Other signatories are George Bailey, Jackie Bevan, Mike Boulton, Heather Chipperfield, Gary Dando, Lady Hylton, Andrew Jolliffe, Royston Knight, Amanda Leon, Roger Mansell and Carol Warriner.

The heart of Radstock, the best preserved mining town centre in the country, must be saved. We look forward to good sense prevailing and we will continue to organize against these ill-thought out plans. We encourage everyone to speak up for Radstock now.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[9th January 2011]: BANES Cabinet Meeting and the Traffic Regulation Orders - RAG will attend - and oppose

BANES Cabinet please note: the Current Road Proposals are not the Answer

At this Wednesday's (January 11) Cabinet meeting, councillors are being asked to approve the latest version of the Road Traffic Orders which will effectively decide the future of Radstock town centre. They will introduce two way traffic in The Street, they will reverse the traffic flow in Fortescue Road and they will retain the new road through the town centre in front of the Victoria Hall - something that they claimed originally was only needed because they had to close the Frome Road.

Radstock Action Group will be attending the meeting and speaking against these proposals which, to all intents and purposes, remain very similar to the first version which was roundly rejected last autumn. The decision not to close Frome Road was a major step forward, but unfortunately the Council has not followed through on this positive decision and is persisting with ill-thought out proposals which will jeopardise the regeneration of the town by deterring people from coming into the new traffic system which, contrary to Council assertions, will create serious obstacles to the use of the shops and other amenities and ultimately lead to the town being deserted by many current users.

Keep asking questions till you get an answer you want

The BANES press release issued last week stated that 'all the questions in the consultation received majority support'. Quite so, but they were questions which dodged the key issues to which people are opposed. It certainly seems that the Council decided to continue asking fairly random questions until they could state that they had got approval. A familiar old trick ...

Additionally, BANES has not published the responses which they received in addition to the questionnaire answers. RAG knows that a substantial number of people wrote in (as invited to do on the questionnaire) but we cannot obtain clarification as to whether these comments have been made available to councillors or the wider public. And above all, Radstock deserves a joined up plan which puts Radstock first.

Saving the Victoria Hall

One key way of enhancing Radstock will be through the regeneration of the Victoria Hall,. We invite everyone to come and discuss the options for this, our key civic building, at our forthcoming event:

SAVING THE VICTORIA HALL
Saturday 21 January
10.00 - 2.30
Radstock Working Men's Club
Everyone welcome

This event will provide an opportunity to look at the options for what goes on in the hall, for its funding and for who should and could get involved in day to day activity. the hall is in a bad state of repair and needs considerable updating but it can provide a centre for a wide range of events and activities which can only benefit Radstock. Your expertise and ideas are needed.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

Latest BANES Road Proposals

RAG Response to latest BANES Road Proposals (December 2011)

Click here to download the document (214Kb pdf)

[16th December 2011]: Reasons for objecting to the latest BANES roads proposals. Get your objections in by the closing date: Tuesday 20 December 2011.

Click here to download the document (158Kb pdf)

[12th December 2011]: BANES Information on Road Development is Suspect - Yes, We Know That, but More Evidence is Emerging

Christmas Crackers BANES Style

Last week Radstock found out again, this time through a hastily organised 'Exhibition' about the road scheme, that the last thing on the mind of BANES and developers is the regeneration of the town and the well-being of its residents and businesses. If the current proposals go ahead, Radstock will be reduced to a traffic junction, and if BANES has its way, it will be a high speed traffic junction. It seems like BANES has only two ideas for the town - a gridlocked centre or a fast-track traffic junction. Let's not even talk about the fact that neither of their alternatives bears much relation to the facts of the matter. The council makes statements about their intentions and then sets about creating a back up for their proposals. Here's some of the latest evidence.

Radstock Action Group has, in the past week, received two 'interesting' items from BANES in response to requests for clarification.

Parking

BANES tells us that the loss of parking spaces as a result of the current NRR scheme will be only 24. How have they arrived at this figure? By an item called 'New public car park within NRR development'. This will, they declare, provide 44 spaces. However, when we questioned them on this, they agreed as follows:

  • There is no parking specifically for residents in the new housing development
  • The 44 spaces on the NRR development will be on the public highway
  • Residents on the new development will have to park on this very same public highway

In other words, despite building new homes, the developer will not have to provide any parking for them and the already diminished number of parking spaces will have to be used by all those who live in the housing as well as everyone else who already regularly parks in Radstock. So it's fewer overall spaces and more housing.

Breakdown of Costs for Replacing the Mini-roundabouts at Frome Road

Site Clearance18,000
Fencing12,000
Drainage32,500
Earthworks230,750
Pavements124,790
Signs and Markings53,820
Toucans260,000
Highway Electrical22,000
Structural Concrete360,000
Masonry Wall75,000
Landscaping32,000
Dayworks122,000
Preliminaries/Traffic Management117,680

Both these items came from the office of Glen Chipp, BANES Strategic Director for Service Delivery.

The sleight of hand in the parking data doesn't really inspire confidence and we have to ask how many other little 'inaccuracies' and misleading impressions are lurking in the welter of information which they have recently put out. In the case of the sums for the mini-roundabouts, we do not think anyone can be any the wiser particularly as the total was 'circa £1,4000,000' - we may have missed something but the total seems to be £1,460,540. As for what it all means, no-one who has looked at the figures so far understands how these sums were arrived at.

We urge everyone to make sure that they respond to the latest round of 'information' and proposals by the closing deadline of 20 December.

The last round of responses made the council sit up and think. But they haven't thought far enough yet. We intend keeping up the pressure.

Additional information is continually being added to our website.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[8th December 2011]: BANES costings for the replacement of the mini-roundabouts

We asked BANES for the breakdown of the £1.4 million that they say the replacement of the mini-roundabouts will cost. This is what they sent to us on 7 December. Please let us have your comments and suggestions.

 Thousands
Site Clearance18
Fencing12
Drainage32.5
Earthworks230.75
Pavements124.79
Signs and Markings53.82
Toucans260
Highway Electrical22
Structural Concrete360
Masonry Wall75
Landscaping32
Dayworks122
Preliminaries/Traffic Management117.68
Total Circa1,400,000

Glenn Chipp
Strategic Director for Service Delivery
7 December 2011

[8th December 2011]: PARKING: BANES Statement of Changes in Number of Parking Spaces

Please note that the 'new public car park within NNR development' is not all it seems - these spaces are for residents in the new housing. Amongst other points we find difficult to understand - three parking space on the Link road - together with two pedestrian crossings, bus stands in both directions and a roundabout at each end. Please let us have your views.

Change to parking stock as a result of NNR schemeExistingProposedChange
The Street (30min)137-6
Fortescue Rd (30min)109-1
Fortescue Rd (30min)170-17
Library Car Park (inc 4 disabled. BANES website says 64 spaces)72720
Victoria Hall Car Park (on NNR land, inc. 3 disabled. BANES website says 38)470-47
New public car park within NNR development-4444
Link Rd on street parking-33
Sub Total159135-24

[6th December 2011]: BANES Map: Proposed Further Improvements

[5th December 2011]: New BANES Plans have Little To Do with the Regeneration of Radstock

Latest Plans Raise the Question - Why is a New Road Necessary?

BANES has published its 'new' version of the plans for Radstock.

And the good news is that the Frome Road is to remain open. A 20 mph speed restriction is welcome, though many people doubt that traffic will be moving fast enough to require it at the times that BANES sees a problem.

However, BANES fails to explain how the overall proposals are going to aid the regeneration of the town.

Up until now, BANES has maintained that the new link road is necessary so that housing can be built on the railway land, but now we learn that 'Bath and North East Somerset Council wants to tackle traffic congestion and kickstart the regeneration of the town'. No wonder people are confused. Much of the traffic congestion referred to is the result of the proposals to build the new link road.

Virtually all the objections made by so many people are not addressed because BANES is sticking to its determination to put in a new link road and all the modifications are based on that and not on addressing public opposition to the road and the real needs of the town.

Yes, it may well be a good move that a mini-roundabout will replace traffic lights at the junction between the Street and the proposed new link road and that there will be a weight limit of 7.5 tonnes on this link. It may also be a good move that the proposed ban on right turns out of church Street is to be removed. But without the link road, none of these items would be an issue.

What Isn't New about these Proposals?

RAG has already published an initial response to some of the key issues (The_new_proposals_statement_03-12-11.pdf) which include:

  1. The proposed link road is still in the plans
  2. The Street will still have two way traffic
  3. Fortescue Road traffic will still flow in the opposite direction to the present
  4. The same number of parking space (and probably more) will still be lost
  5. All traffic exiting Fortescue Road will still have to turn left regardless of where it wants to go
  6. Traffic from Wells Hill going to Haydon or the town centre will still have to negotiate a right turn at the bottom of the hill, on a new roundabout
  7. Royal Mail vehicles using the Sorting Office will still not be able to access their depot or park outside
  8. The Jubilee Oak and the garden on the original war memorial site will still be lost

For further discussion and detail please visit our website which will be updated regularly - space doesn't allow great detail in this press release.

New Additions to Proposals Poorly Thought Out and Unconvincing

A plethora of roundabouts and pedestrian crossings designed to manage traffic on the new system and make pedestrians safe is poorly thought out and will only cause new problems. For example in the short distance between Charltons on the Frome Road and Hope House in the Street, there will be no fewer than two roundabouts, three pedestrian crossings and the bus stops for all services in both directions. The new pedestrian crossing in The Street will have zigzags which will automatically curtail parking even further. BANES says there will be lower traffic flows on the Street - we are not clear how traffic flows can be reduced by making a one way street two way.

RAG was invited to attend a BANES briefing on 29 November. There we were shown traffic modelling which was far from convincing - for instance, decreased journey times look highly suspect: one example put forward by BANES appears to suggest a decline in travelling time between the Camerton turn off at Peasedown and Westhill Gardens which would involve driving at at least 40 mph - and this through the area where the new 20 mph limit would be in place.

We have asked BANES to give us a breakdown of the calculations which show how moving the electricity sub-station would cost £1.4m. Talking to people in Radstock on Saturday there was no clear view on whether the mini-roundabouts should be replaced but at least we need clarification on why they've been eliminated on the basis of cost.

Feedback Form Asks the Wrong Questions

On Saturday morning, a leaflet dropped through everyone's letter box, entitled 'Tackling congestion in Radstock and kick-starting the economy'.

Far from being an objective account of the proposals it bears all the hallmarks of an unconvincing piece of pro-link road publicity. But the really unacceptable part is to be found in the 'Feedback Form' where members of the public are invited to answer a series of questions on proposed modifications and further improvements.

The first four questions ask respondents to express support or not for the retention of the double-mini roundabout at the Frome Road/A367 junction; the retention of Frome Road as at present; the replacement of a proposed signalised junction with a roundabout at the meeting of the Street with the proposed new link road; the removal of the right turn ban out of Church Street.

Radstock Action Group wants to know why respondents are not asked to say whether or not they want a new link road, or two way traffic in the Street, or the reversal of traffic flow in Fortescue Road. These are the central questions on which residents and businesses should be consulted. We urge everyone to tell BANES their views on these three key issues as they will all impact on the future prosperity of the town and the well-being of all those who use it. To introduce them threatens the heart of Radstock - its viability as a shopping centre (which is looking increasingly interesting and attractive) and the buildings of the conservation area which make the town unique.

Any Answers to these Questions?

  • Why is the new link road necessary now that the Frome Road is staying open?
  • Previously BANES argued that this was all for the new NRR housing development. Now they are justifying it on the grounds that it will improve journey times and reduce congestion. What is the real reason?
  • Councillor Crossley, leader of BANES, has said there will be no road unless the housing happens. So why this haste when the housing has not been agreed?
  • Wouldn’t the money be better spent on positive improvements to the town?
  • Why can’t the road system stay as it is? It’s not perfect but it’s certainly better than the proposals
  • Where are the 40 new jobs coming from?

Saving the Heart of Radstock

BANES has not explained how the 'new' proposals will lead to regeneration, simply because they clearly won't for all the reasons rehearsed so many times before. Radstock needs a proper public transport system with affordable fares and frequent services on the buses and the reinstatement of the rail link to Frome. The only real answer to traffic congestion is to enable people to leave their cars at home in favour of a really good public system.

Radstock needs jobs - even BANES says the scheme will only produce 40. It could well lead to the loss of jobs too, if businesses suffer and have to lay off staff or close down altogether.

Radstock needs affordable homes but it is doubtful that the new planning application will propose anything even to the specification in the previous round where very small flats were jammed into very limited space with a few houses.

The reasons for a new road are even less clear than they were before. We want to save the heart of Radstock not destroy it in the name of some vague, poorly thought-out road scheme.

We urge everyone to get involved, to write to their local councillors and MP and to attend the exhibition scheduled for 9/10 December.

On Wednesday 7 December, RAG will be presenting BANES cabinet with more signatures against the new road, with the total now over 2,000.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[4th December 2011]: New BANES Proposals for Radstock: What We Think

BANES Take 2 is Not the Answer: It will still destroy the Heart of Radstock

Click here to view our response to the latest proposals (110Kb pdf)

One of the Maps produced by BANES showing the New Proposals:

BANES Radstock Map v2

Please note that this map is not consistent with other maps of the same proposals. It doesn't show all the proposals such as the roundabout at the junction of the Street and the proposed new link road. (Click map to view larger version (1.3Mb pdf).)

[26th November 2011]: URGENT: BANES up to its usual - calling important meetings at short notice in the run up to Christmas

PLEASE PUT THESE DATES IN YOUR DIARIES

Your help, presence and support are urgently needed for a couple of key events which are being planned by BANES (information leaked out late this week) in relation to the road. We are very concerned that these events are being called at very short notice and in the run up to Christmas when people are exceptionally busy.

EVENT 1: TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER

A briefing session on the latest proposals for the Radstock Regeneration and Highway Improvement Scheme including modifications to the Traffic Regulation Orders.

We have been asked by BANES to invite our supporters to this meeting, notice of which was sent out late on Thursday afternoon.

Date: Tuesday 29 November
Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm
Venue: Wansdyke Business Centre, Unit 22 Midsomer Enterprise Park, Radstock Road, Midsomer Norton BA3 2BB - see map (255Kb pdf).

EVENT 2: FRIDAY 9 AND SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER

There is to be an exhibition on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December in connection with new proposals for the road. We have nothing in writing and the following information has been given us by someone in the Transport Department at BANES.

Date: Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December
Time: Not confirmed but likely to be afternoon and evening of 9 and afternoon of 10 December
Venue: Radstock Methodist Church

Apparently views will be sought at this event which will be followed by a three week consultation which will end on 20 December.

Yet again, it was only when we heard rumour and spent an entire morning pressing BANES for information that they finally told us that this was about to happen.

WEDNESDAY 7 DECEMBER AT 6.30PM

Finally, we will be presenting the latest sheets of the petition against the road at the BANES Cabinet meeting on 7 December in the Guildhall in Bath at 6.30pm. Details of how to put your name down to speak and of our arrangements to protest outside will follow.

STOP THE ROAD T SHIRTS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT ALL THESE EVENTS - £5.50.

Radstock Action Group would like to point out that these very short deadlines, right before Christmas, are further evidence of BANES lack of commitment to full democratic consultation and involvement.

In addition, we regard the venue for the briefing as a further obstacle to participation and think BANES should have arranged the meeting in Radstock.

Nonetheless, we ask everyone to turn up for these events.

Please do let us know if you require further clarification or have questions.

Best wishes and many thanks for your continued support. See you at as many of the above events as possible.

Amanda Leon, Secretary, Radstock Action Group

[17th October 2011]: STOP PRESS Radstock Action Group Petition against the Road hits 1800

No fewer than 238 people signed up to the RAG petition against the Radstock road proposals on Saturday - members of RAG had a lively session outside RADCO and got the opportunity to explain the proposed road layout in greater detail.

This brings the total signatures to date to 1800, so we are now pressing on to the next milestone - 2,000.

Thank you to RADCO and to all the people who showed their support for the campaign on Saturday.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[3rd October 2011]: Radstock Action Group Petition against the Road heading towards 1500 signatures

Sign the Petition!

Last Saturday, October 1st, Radstock Action Group members were in the town centre collecting more signatures against the road. The group has already presented sheets bearing almost 1,000 to Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) and those collected on Saturday, including sheets brought to our stall by supporters who'd been going round collecting on their own, will bring the total to almost 1,500.

Members of the public were able to see the plans (as prepared by BANES) and to ask questions and hear an explanation from RAG members of how the traffic would work. Common responses included, 'Who on earth thought this one up?', 'If it ain't broke ...', 'It's not going to work' ....

Our new 'Stop the Road' t-shirts (see below) attracted lots of attention from shoppers and other visitors to the town and there were plenty of willing signers, especially once the full scheme had been explained. T-shirts were also selling well.

These petition events show exactly the huge range of people coming to Radstock on a Saturday to shop and enjoy the local amenities, including the museum and walks and to visit relatives and friends. What was noticeable this week was how many people from neighbouring communities are worried about how the proposed changes would impact on their travel and their shopping experience in Radstock.

Many people who had already signed the petition stopped to say how pleased they are that someone is fighting the proposals.

Yet again, we urge BANES to listen to the community and to get round the table with everyone concerned to plan for the future of the town with the people who know it best.

Our thanks are due to Brian Preston who took some photos as he looked on.

Temporary traffic controls cause more traffic queues

Temporary traffic controls (set up by BANES) at just above the Radstock Hotel on traffic to and from Bath, caused yet more delays (though minor compared with the Wessex Water fiasco of a couple of weekends ago) and showed just how difficult the situation will be if the road scheme ever goes ahead. At some points, Bath-bound traffic was backing up into Wells Road well beyond the bend and there were long queues for traffic coming in from Bath.

RAG meeting with Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

Last Friday, members of RAG attended Jacob Rees-Mogg's surgery and put the case for finding alternative solutions for the regeneration of Radstock. There was a wide-ranging discussion and Mr Rees-Mogg offered suggestions on various specifics; we explained how we would like to move on the redevelopment of the Victoria Hall and that there will be a public event to explore this further before Christmas.


1st October Petition Signing

1st October Petition Signing

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[15th September 2011]: BANES Cabinet Decision on Road Orders welcome - and the fight goes on

Last night, Bath and North East Somerset Cabinet members agreed unanimously to defer the decision about the (Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs). Radstock Action Group welcomes this decision and hopes that it marks the start of a more rational and Radstock-focused approach to the town's future.

Radstock Action Group says a big thank you to everyone who supports the campaign to save the heart of Radstock. This decision marks a victory for everyone who has written to BANES, attended meetings, contacted important people, got the petition signed up, and kept arguing in favour of a positive and imaginative development of the town.

We now have to keep up the pressure and work to ensure that businesses, residents and growing numbers of visitors will be able to enjoy a town which provides high quality jobs, homes and amenities. We know that BANES will be back with plans which may still include the road and other proposals which do not reflect our hopes and our belief in the town.

The decision to defer must be regarded as nothing more than a reprieve. It does not mean that the threat of the road has gone away, it is still very much on the agenda.

The decision constitutes a small positive step in a much longer campaign in which we will continue to work for the sustainable and sensitive regeneration of the town. At a Radstock Action Group public meeting on Tuesday, attended by 37 people, everyone expressed the view that we need to promote an alternative, forward-looking plan. Many, varied ideas were bounced around - we now have an opportunity to press forward and get a dialogue going with BANES and other 'stakeholders'.

We remain totally opposed to the construction of the road and will be asking the council to:

  • Publish a full analysis of the 2009 traffic survey
  • Do a fully costed investigation of the moving of the sub-station at the mini-roundabout end of Frome Road
  • Develop a master plan
  • Identify alternative and better sites for homes in the town
  • Include the reinstatement of the Radstock-Frome railway in all future plans
  • Put the needs of Radstock people first

It is certainly a relief to know that the diggers will not be moving into town this week, but the fight has to go on. The NRR/Linden Homes Planning Applications are still to come (possibly in November) and we will be working for their rejection and in favour of a people-centred redevelopment of the precious railway land.

We hope that BANES is beginning to realise that Radstock matters to everyone in the town. It has a great future as well as a great past.

A postscript
At the Cabinet meeting, BANES was presented with the latest pack of petition sheets containing hundreds more signatures against the road and in favour of the moving of the sub-station and the conversion of the two mini-roundabouts into one larger one.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[14th September 2011]: BANES attempts to answer some questions ....

See how B&NES answered the questions that they said had been posed earlier on the visit Radstock Action Group had organised for them on 8 August 2011. At a hastily convened meeting on Wednesday 7 September, they read out these answers to the 30+ people who had turned up at very short notice but who nonetheless were able to prove yet again that this ludicrous proposal will not work. Even so, the councillors appeared hell-bent on supporting this plan which threatens the very future of the town centre.

Click here to download the document (7.8Mb pdf)

[12th September 2011]: PRESS RELEASE: Magic Roundabouts and Deserted Islands

Waterworks offer a glimpse of Radstock's Future

Anyone in Radstock on Saturday 10 September will have experienced, at first hand, the complete chaos caused by road works being undertaken by Wessex Water to repair/replace a storm drain in the town.

With a set up which included several sets of traffic lights (temporary) and the restriction to one way flow of traffic in Frome Road, it provided a foretaste of Radstock's fate should the new road proceed. According to one passenger, it took a bus an hour to get from Peasedown th Radstock; exhibitors travelling to an event at the Working Men's Club were held up by huge tail backs (at least 40 minutes at about 9.30am), and there was an eerie quiet in the normally busy town centre as shoppers abandoned plans for their usual Saturday trip to the shops. Even at 3.30 in the afternoon, traffic from Bath into Radstock was backed up beyond the Clandown turn off and drivers were performing risky three-point turns on the bend at the top of the hill to go back on themselves when they saw how long they were going to have to wait to get anywhere via Radstock.

B&NES Councillors tell the town a story of pure fiction

Earlier in the week, on Wednesday 7 September, at scarcely two days notice, Cllrs Paul Crossley (leader of BANES) and Cherry Beath (Cabinet member for Regeneration), accompanied by Peter Dawson, BANES Group Manager, Transport and Planning Policy, arrived in Radstock to feed back on their visit to the town which had been organised by Radstock Action Group three weeks earlier.

Given the short notice it was impressive to see 37 people in the audience. Unfortunately the visitors didn't have a chair for the meeting and they did not introduce themselves, so the session was chaotic and generally very worrying for those who want to see a constructive and logical plan for the regeneration of the town.

The two councillors took it in turns to read out, from a printed sheet, a series of 21 questions and their answers, prepared in response to the 21 questions which they said had collected during their visit to Radstock. Not an exactly helpful format, but it went ahead nonetheless. A copy of the paperwork will be available on our website shortly.

What emerged from the meeting was sobering evidence that they are not listening and that they appear determined to proceed with the new road regardless of public opinion, informed professional evidence that it won't work, or the provision of alternative solutions from those who live and work in Radstock.

Amongst the 'interesting' statements they produced was, 'The principle (sic) cause of traffic congestion currently being experienced in Radstock, is the sheer number of vehicles passing through the town centre due to the lack of an alternative route' The B&NES solution? Increase the amount of traffic by diverting a main road into the town centre. Brilliant.

Worries about the cellar of Automania? BANES has the answer, 'The cellar is positioned within the pedestrian footway. The proposed scheme widens the footway further resulting in road traffic being moved further from the area of concern'. They could not explain how the inevitable narrowing of the Street was going to help eight axle trucks to pass as they travel along the Street in two directions or why making the turn into the Street from Wells Road even more difficult was going to enhance safety in the town.

One member of the audience was heard to say, 'Magic Roundabouts' as councillors sought to explain their ludicrous plans, another painted a picture of a town deserted by shoppers as traders go out of business because no-one can get into the centre any more - our town centre will, indeed, be a deserted island.

THIS TUESDAY - A PUBLIC MEETING TO HEAR THE LATEST AND GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS This scheme must be stopped - the more we hear from B&NES, the less acceptable it is. This week Radstock Action Group will be present at all B&NES meetings addressing the matter and will be holding a public meeting OF THEIR OWN:

PUBLIC MEETING: Road to Ruin or Regeneration?
DATE: Tuesday 13 September
TIME: 8pm
VENUE: Victoria Hall, Radstock

Demonstrate outside the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 14 September at 5.45pm at the Guildhall in Bath

Everyone welcome at both events.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[5th September 2011]: PRESS RELEASE: Road works start but under cover of shock conversion of BANES to Ecological Maintenance

Ever since the diggers moved on to the railway land on 24 August, it's been impossible to find any agreement at Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) on what is going on. But, undaunted, Cllr Paul Crossley (Leader of BANES) declared on BBC Radio Bristol on 2 September that 'it's not preparation for the road building' but 'ecological maintenance' and when pressed on no fewer than three occasions to tell listeners whether it had anything to do with the road or was a coincidence, he eventually replied that it was a coincidence.

Of course, in other circumstances, everyone would be delighted that BANES is now taking its ecological management responsibilities seriously, but these are currently being used as a smoke screen for the real activity of preparing the site for the proposed new road and follow hard on the heels of Nathan Hartley's unwarranted attack on those who seek to ensure that ecological matters are indeed taken very seriously.

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuesday 13 September: Road to Ruin or Regeneration?
Victoria Hall, Radstock - 8pm

In the town centre last Saturday morning, Radstock Action Group found the mood angrier than ever as they collected signatures for the petition against the road. So to give people the chance to have their say, to update everyone on the road and forthcoming related issues of importance, Radstock Action Group will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday 13 September at 8pm at the Victoria Hall, Radstock. Amongst those invited to speak are Radstock's MP, BANES councillors and officers, the chair of Radstock Town Council, the chair of NRR and a range of businesses and individuals opposed to the road. Members of the public should come and make their voices heard too.

Road to Ruin or Regeneration? will be a crucial meeting on the eve of a meeting at which the Road Orders (TROs) will be discussed and where cabinet members will, therefore, have the opportunity to say no to them.

Radstock Deserves Answers

B&NES is still maintaining that it cannot do the analysis of the traffic survey undertaken in 2009 and that officer time is being spent instead on answering questions posed by councillors. However, it would be a very ill-advised authority which went ahead with a major road scheme such as that proposed for Radstock without undertaking full surveys and full analysis of the results.

B&NES says the road is needed for new homes access - unfortunately, even if you wanted to use a car, there will be total gridlock, so you'll never get in or out of the town centre.

Other unresolved questions include:

  • Why is B&NES apparently subsidising the NRR and any future developer by paying out for the road, when this should be the developer's responsibilty according to the outline planning permissions?
  • Why is B&NES so determined to pursue a scheme which is facing massive opposition from the community?
  • Why the moving of the electricity substation and the replacement of the two small roundabouts with one big one is so unacceptable to B&NES?

Crucial B&NES Meeting

Radstock Action Group will be protesting at the B&NES cabinet meeting on Wednesday 14 September and asks as many people as possible to join them at the Guildhall in Bath at 5.45pm - the meeting, at which we will be speaking, begins at 6.30pm but we will be talking to cabinet members as they go into the Guildhall beforehand.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[3rd September 2011]: Radstock Action Group supporters protesting on Thursday 25 August at the site of the BANES activity on the railway land.

Thanks to everyone who turned out at very short notice.

25th August railway land demonstration

[20th August 2011]: Image Gallery: The Councillors visiting Radstock to see the situation regarding the changes to the road situation

Click here to view the gallery

[5th August 2011]: Press Release: BANES Councillors to visit Radstock about road Monday 8 August

Councillor Cherry Beath (BANES Cabinet Member, Regeneration) and Councillor Roger Symonds (BANES Cabinet Member Transport) are visiting Radstock at the invitation of RAG. They are going to be given a tour of the proposed road routes and will then go to the Working Men's Club for a discussion with local traders, businesses, residents and anyone who is interested in the future of the town. The aim - to enable them to see for themselves that this plan just won't work.

Meeting Monday 8 August

Date: Monday 8 August 2011
Time: 1.30pm
Venue: Meet outside Museum for tour of Radstock,
with attention to the road proposals.

To be followed by a discussion with councillors at the Working Men's Club from 2.00 - 3.00pm.

Everyone welcome.

[5th August 2011]: Press Release: What the Road will mean for neighbouring communities and for businesses

Although most people are aware of the proposed NRR plans for the Radstock Railway Land, there are still many who are only now beginning to realise how it will impact on them, even if they do not live or work in Radstock.

Which is why Radstock Action Group has begun talking to local businesses including haulage companies, coach companies and businesses which need to transport goods to and from their sites in the area. RAG has also started contacting parish councils to alert them to possible negative impacts on their own communities.

The principal points that a growing number of people are becoming aware of are:

  1. If you have to go through Radstock for work or leisure purposes, your journey times are going to be longer. this will mean increased fuel consumption, longer working hours and uncertainty on schedules as drivers try to negotiate the gridlock which the road scheme will inevitably bring
  2. Many drivers, once they see this, will start looking for ways of avoiding going through Radstock, leading to rat runs developing in rural areas and through adjacent communities
  3. Large vehicles such as articulated lorries will not be able to use the road system as it involves such obstacles as having to go right round roundabouts
  4. Emergency services will be held up trying to get through the town
  5. If you enjoy dropping into one of the shops, maybe to get your breakfast or lunch on the way to work, this will no longer be easy as parking is going to be reduced
  6. Some companies may prefer to relocate, thus losing local jobs, rather than deal with the ludicrous road scheme.

Businesses RAG has spoken to are extremely concerned about the plans and are being urged to make their views known to Bath and North East Somerset before it is too late. The prosperity of the whole area is something that everyone wants to see and everyone must urge the council to listen to people who actually use the road system in Radstock - they know what it needs and it doesn't need the present proposals.

This is an ideal moment for communities to join together and plan strategically for the future - with current business trends and pressures, this is clearly preferable to being isolated. Roads are meant to join people up, not divide them or bring activity to a halt.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

PETITIONS AGAINST THE ROAD AND IN FAVOUR OF AN ALTERNATIVE

Help get petitions against the road signed: Petition against the Road (50Kb doc) | Petition in favour of a different solution (52Kb doc)

  • Download as many copies as you can use
  • Ask your friends to do the same
  • Return to the address at the bottom of the petition

Thank you for your help - we are all making a difference together.

'STOP THE ROAD' POSTERS: A3 Poster (101Kb pdf) | A4 Poster (72Kb pdf) | A5 Poster (66Kb pdf) | A5 Poster - 2 on a page (83Kb pdf)

[25th July 2011]: Press Release: Are you Listening Linden Homes?

The current road proposals are, according to BANES and the NRR, essential to the housing development which they are pursuing in Radstock. Radstock Action Group has been looking at the website of Linden Homes, the latest would-be developer. Here's what we found under 'Community Engagement' (www.lindenhomes.co.uk/community-engagement.htm):

'Working with local communities comes as second nature to Linden Homes. We understand that if we are to deliver houses that not only meet the aspirations of those who seek to live in them but also enhance the existing neighbourhood, then we need to talk to and engage with local people'. It continues, 'By seeking out local knowledge, and listening to local opinion, we are able to build a fuller picture and progress our plans accordingly'.

So why are these admirable sentiments not being applied to Radstock - is it possible that Linden Homes doesn't know that the proposals that they are in danger of being drawn into do not fit at all with their expressed aims? We shall be urging Linden Homes (address: Linden House, The Jacobs Building, Berkeley Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1EH, tel: 0117 930 4949) to consider the fact that there is overwhelming opposition to the road proposals - you only have to look at the extensive postbag in the press last week to see it.

Radstock Action Group suggests that Linden Homes:

  1. Acknowledges that the road which is a part of the scheme will certainly not enhance the existing neighbourhood.
  2. Recognises that the 'local knowledge' they refer to, in the case of Radstock provides a picture of a well-informed community which can give chapter and verse on why the road proposed in the plan to which Linden Homes is proposing to sign up, cannot work.
  3. Listen to local opinion and stop risking the good name of their company in an unsustainable and hugely unpopular scheme.

When Radstock Action Group met Linden Homes representatives,Simon Gait and Mark Rooney, on 22 June, we were not left with the warm glow and positive feeling suggested by the website, about their principled aims. We had 'a frank discussion' with them and they were honest enough to acknowledge that developers are not universally popular and that the job of commercial companies is to make money. They certainly didn't underline, or even mention, their company's commitment to the statements quoted above from their website. Linden Homes needs to match its boasts to the Radstock 'project'.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, Radstock Action Group presented the first batch of completed petition sheets, containing hundreds of signatures against the road, to the BANES Economic and Community Development Policy Development and Scrutiny. The meeting considered an internal report on Radstock regeneration which stated, amongst other things that Radstock Economic Action Plan is a project which 'aims to understand the key strengths and weaknesses of the local economy in Radstock and Westfield and develop a series of locally owned actions designed to support businesses to start and grow and broader job creation in Radstock and Westfield'. They seem oblivious to the fact that if the road goes ahead none of this can happen because Radstock will not have a future and will no longer be able to do other than watch as current businesses collapse and disappear - and with them the many jobs they currently provide.

In the first week hundreds of people signed our petition against the road, signatures are still being collected - we hope that Linden Homes will wake up and realise that the petition is just the latest in an ongoing stream of opposition to the road.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[22nd July 2011]: Our Objections to the Traffic Orders

Click here to download the document (93Kb pdf)

[21st July 2011]: Facts and figures about vehicle sizes and roads in Radstock

Click here to download the document (38Kb pdf)

[18th July 2011]: Press Release: Campaign against the road has a positive and super-active week

Councillor Mansell’s remarks to the Press last week, should not be allowed to overshadow a week of positive activity in the campaign to stop the road. All that needs to be noted is that the ‘vociferous minority’ she refers to are not opposed to regeneration. Far from it, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Radstock who wants anything other than regeneration. However, many people are of the opinion that the road being proposed by BANES/NRR will lead to nothing less than gridlock and degeneration. So the campaign to stop the road plan will continue, as will our dialogue with BANES and all those who welcome discussion and positive suggestions.

On Tuesday evening, a Radstock Action Group public meeting on the road was attended by 45+ people. They came up with a series of ideas about what we need to be doing next. These included:

  1. Close consultation with heavy haulage and transport/coach companies
  2. Research on the impact of the road on businesses and industrial sites
  3. Contact with neighbouring councils such as Westfield, Midsomer Norton, Paulton, Kilmersdon and others regarding the impact and future disruption of road links between places

On Thursday 14 July, Radstock traders and residents demonstrated outside the Guildhall, Bath, before the Full Council meeting where Radstock Action Group members spoke against the road in public time.

At this Council meeting, BANES withdrew the most contentious and unpopular parts of the Bath Transport Package. Radstock Action Group argued that if a rethink was possible for Bath, then a rethink is possible for the Radstock scheme. What’s good enough for Bath is good enough for Radstock.

There was lots of applause from the public gallery, we hope councillors listened and we look forward to reopening discussions with BANES on alternative proposals – many alternatives are now being put forward by the community to avoid the ludicrous plans currently on offer. BANES should come to Radstock and listen to the alternatives put forward by the community.

Meanwhile, the deadline for comments on the Traffic Orders is 21 July; RAG will be commenting and we urge everyone else to do likewise. Full details of how to proceed if you wish to comment are available on our website at: www.radstockactiongroup.org.uk/stop_the_road.php

This week has seen new and old faces redoubling efforts to get the road plans reversed. We must all continue to pull together – if the road goes ahead, regeneration will be relegated to the department of pipe dreams.

Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary on behalf of Radstock Action Group

[18th July 2011]: Protest at Council meeting, 14th July 2011

Some of the 20 or so Radstock traders and residents who demonstrated at the BANES Full Council meeting on 14 July outside the Guildhall in Bath. At the meeting, BANES agreed to serious modifications to the Bath Transport Package including the scrapping of the most unpopular parts such as the Rapid Transit route - in public time, speakers from Radstock Action Group urged a similar rethink over the very unpopular proposed Radstock road scheme - what's good enough for Bath is good enough for Radstock.

Protest at Council meeting, 14th July 2011

PETITIONS AGAINST THE ROAD AND IN FAVOUR OF AN ALTERNATIVE

Help get petitions against the road signed: Petition against the Road (50Kb doc) | Petition in favour of a different solution (52Kb doc)

  • Download as many copies as you can use
  • Ask your friends to do the same
  • Return to the address at the bottom of the petition, no later than 20 July
  • Return sheets which are not complete by 20 July

CAN YOU SPARE HALF AN HOUR TO HELP COLLECT SIGNATURES IN RADSTOCK ON SATURDAY MORNING (16 JULY)?

If so, please come along between 10.00 and midday, and there'll be someone there around Fortescue Road, Street, Radco end, near bank.

Thank you for your help - we are all making a difference together.

URGENT - SEND YOUR VIEWS ON THE ROAD AND NRR PLANS TO BANES NOW - deadlines looming

We've put together details of the most recent planning applications and traffic orders which members of the public can comment on - two important deadlines are 21 July and end of July. Read about them, then respond via one of the contacts provided.

Click here to download the document (96Kb pdf)

[14th July 2011]: PROTEST - THURSDAY 14 JULY 6.00PM - GUILDHALL, BATH

SAVE THE HEART OF RADSTOCK - STOP THE ROAD

  • Meet outside the Guildhall in Bath at 6.00pm before going into the full BANES Council meeting.
  • A couple of members of Radstock Action Group will be speaking on the road issue.
  • Come and add your voices outside the Guildhall before the meeting starts. Bring placards if you can. You will be able to sit in the public gallery for the meeting.

BANES Councillors must hear that Radstock doesn’t want the road.
Catch them as they go in to the meeting.
Talk to them, explain your concerns.

BANES Explains How the Road Would Work

Radstock Action Group asked BANES Development and Major Projects to clarify by saying which of the following statements was correct or not. Click here to see their replies (36Kb pdf)

BANES plan of proposed road layout

Click here to download the proposed road layout (1.5Mb pdf)

RADSTOCK ROAD RAGE: STOP THE ROAD!

A protest meeting organised by Radstock Action Group

Tuesday 12th July
Radstock Methodist Church
7.45pm
Everyone Welcome

  • This meeting will provide a forum for people to voice their views, ask questions and make suggestions about how we can continue and step up the campaign against the road proposals
  • Please come and bring your friends
  • Be prepared to volunteer to help
  • Please watch the website for updates
  • Your voice counts

If you wish to put a specific item on the agenda or make suggestions about what else can be achieved by the meeting, please contact us via the website.

Press Release: Radstock Road Rage - Stop the Road - 4th July 2011

A meeting organised by Radstock Action Group

Tuesday 12 July
Radstock Methodist Church
7.45pm

The announcement from Bath and North East Somerset that they are hell-bent on continuing with their plans for the unwanted road through the town centre has upset many people, some of whom were unaware that the idea was still being pursued by the council, the NRR and developers.

This meeting has been called to consider how to continue the campaign - further details will be available on the Radstock Action Group website shortly.

The questions that need answering are very simple:

  1. Where is the evidence that the proposed road will work?
  2. What is the business case for building the road?
  3. Why haven't the results of the 2009 traffic survey been published?
  4. How will the road aid regeneration?
  5. How much is the road going to cost and who, apart from the Homes and Communities Agency, is paying?

Radstock Action Group will be going to the next meeting of Radstock Town Council (July 11) to urge them to oppose the latest proposals and we urge everyone who values the town centre to join us.

And, of course, come to the RADSTOCK ROAD RAGE: STOP THE ROAD meeting on July 12.

Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group

SAVE THE HEART OF RADSTOCK – STOP THE ROAD!

WEEK BEGINNING MONDAY 11 JULY
ACTION REQUIRED!
CRUNCH WEEK FOR STOPPING TRAFFIC ORDERS

The traffic orders in relation to the road proposals require urgent comment. They have been posted around Radstock and we have requested that the full details are available for viewing at the Victoria Hall.

THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS ON THESE ORDERS IS 21 JULY

PLEASE COME TO AS MANY OF THESE EVENTS AS YOU CAN – as you can see from the table below, the next week is crucial in terms of getting the case on the front pages etc.

Bring placards and posters!

Make your own or print off from the RAG website – we’ve got various sizes.

WANT POSTERS? Print your own:
A3 Poster (101Kb pdf) | A4 Poster (72Kb pdf) | A5 Poster (66Kb pdf) | A5 Poster - 2 on a page (83Kb pdf)

DateMeetingVenueTime
Monday 11th JulyRadstock Town CouncilVictoria Hall, Radstock7.00pm *
Tuesday 12th JulyRadstock Action Group
RADSTOCK ROAD RAGE -
STOP THE ROAD Protest Meeting

Everyone welcome
Methodist Church, Radstock7.45pm
Wednesday 13th JulyBANES CabinetGuildhall, Bath6.30pm *
Thursday 14th JulyBANES Full CouncilGuildhall, Bath6.30pm *

* Meet outside the venue in advance (30 minutes before start of meeting) with placards and posters.

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MORE DETAIL – we’re working on it.

PLEASE WRITE TO RADSTOCK’S ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES and explain your thoughts on the road proposals.

Contact details for Radstock MP and for Radstock Ward BANES Councillors:

MP for NORTH EAST SOMERSET
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Email: jacob.reesmogg.mp@parliament.uk

RADSTOCK WARD COUNCILLORS on BANES
Simon Allen

23 Waldegrave Terrace
Radstock BA3 3EY
Email: Simon_Allen@bathnes.gov.uk

Eleanor Jackson
4 Meadow View

Radstock BA3 3QT
Email: eleanor_jackson@bathnes.gov.uk