Gloucestershire County Council U-turn on Air Balloon roundabout scheme
SHIRE Hall bosses have withdrawn their support for the controversial Air Balloon roundabout plans.
Gloucestershire County Council had initially agreed to help fund the Highways Agency’s trial scheme which will see traffic from Cirencester being banned from turning right.
However, the authority’s Conservative administration has today announced a dramatic U-turn.
Leader of the council, Councillor Mark Hawthorne, is now calling on transport chiefs to drop the scheme entirely.
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He said: “I’ve spoken at length to Lynden Stowe, the leader of Cotswold District Council, as well as Shaun Parsons, Fiona Mckenzie and David Thorpe, the local county councillors.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has also thrown his hat into the ring, discussing the plans with Mr Hawthorne.
Mr Clifton-Brown said he agreed with the County Council's decision to ask the Highways Agency to abandon the plans in view of the level of public concern.
The Cotswolds MP 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.”