Cheltenham Borough Council formally opposes Air Balloon roundabout plans
TRANSPORT Minister Norman Baker will be questioned by Cheltenham councillors over plans for the Air Balloon roundabout when he visits next week.
They have vowed to demand he stops the controversial proposals for the spot.
A cross-party delegation will head him off when he arrives to see the work being done to double the railway line between Swindon and Kemble on February 20.
Proposals by the Highways Agency would see motorists heading towards Cheltenham from Cirencester being banned from turning right at the busy roundabout.
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Fears have been raised about what impact this restriction could have on congestion, pollution and increased rat-running in the town, particularly in Leckhampton.
A motion to oppose the plans received unanimous support when it was presented to Cheltenham Borough Council on Friday afternoon.
The motion calls on the Highways Agency to withdraw the plans and draw up a new one which will tackle congestion.
Councillor Andrew McKinlay (LD, Up Hatherley), who laid out the motion, said: "The fundamental issue is that, even by the Highways Agency's own admission, this would only make a marginal difference.
"If that is the case, why are we doing it when we know it will make a big difference elsewhere?
"This proposal is not going to solve the problems but it will allow the Highways Agency to say 'well, we have put money into this' so it will go back down to the bottom of the list."
Councillor Anne Regan (C, Warden Hill) said numerous parish councils have already voiced concerns.
She added: "We are extremely dismayed by these plans and we do not believe that they are looking with the local residents or the residents further afield in mind.
"They have got to look in to what they are suggesting and come up with some proper plans for that area.
A petition has been started to oppose the scheme by Councillor Klara Sudbury (LD, College) with dozens of people already signing up.
The stated aim of the Highways Agency's plans for the roundabout is to ease congestion in the area.