Controversial plans for Air Balloon roundabout scrapped
CONTROVERSIAL proposals for the Air Balloon roundabout have been scrapped.
The move came after Shire Hall bosses withdrew their support for the scheme, which would have seen anyone driving on the A417 to Cheltenham from the Cirencester direction having to turn left at the roundabout rather than go straight on.
They would then have had to drive through Shurdington and Leckhampton to get to Cheltenham.
Gloucestershire County Council had initially agreed to help fund the Highways Agency's trial scheme.
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Council leader Mark Hawthorne, said: "The Highways Agency hasn't engaged well with local residents and there doesn't seem to me to be any likelihood of their proposal achieving the local support the council sees as crucial to the success of any trial.
"On that basis, I can't support a trial going ahead. The A417 remains one of the biggest transport bottlenecks in Gloucestershire and we'll keep lobbying to persuade the Highways Agency to come up with a credible long term solution to the issues there."
The Highways Agency yesterday confirmed that as a result of this move, the plans would be abandoned.
A statement said: "Plans for the trial generated considerable public interest and we felt it was essential that we consider the views raised by local residents, road users and local councillors before proceeding further.
"As Gloucestershire County Council has now announced it no longer wishes to support the trial, we do not think it is appropriate to progress the proposal further.
"We will however continue to work with the council on finding alternative solutions to the congestion issues at Air Balloon Roundabout."
Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who represents the Cotswolds, said: "The traffic congestion at the Air Balloon is a serious problem.
"I will continue my long- term campaign to find a complete and acceptable solution. In the meantime, smaller scale works, such as an extra carriageway up Leckhampton Hill, as well as alterations to the Birdlip junction to make it safer and other measures such as repositioning the Air Balloon roundabout, should all be looked at."
Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Churn Valley) has been a leading critic of the proposals.
He said: "We have seen such a groundswell of public opinion that it's time Cotswold District Council made a clear statement calling for these proposals to be dropped."