Changes to Cheltenham one-way system backed
SWEEPING plans to overhaul Cheltenham's town centre traffic system have provoked a new debate for residents.
An array of potential changes, revealed on Saturday, could dramatically change the way motorists travel through the town.
People attended a meeting on Saturday at the Municipal Offices, to hear the plans for themselves, and to have their say on the issue.
And they were united on one thing – doing nothing to address the town's traffic woes was simply not an option.
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The scheme includes transforming Boots' corner into a 1,000sqm shared space for pedestrians and buses – with other traffic directed away from the area.
It could also see two-way traffic restored to a number of roads, including the one in front of the Town Hall, in a bid to decrease congestion and stop vehicles getting stuck on the one-way system.
Graham Ricketts, speaking in the Q&A session, said: "We should be looking at towns in Europe which have been successful at getting this kind of thing right.
"I'm not sure there are any towns in the UK that have managed that up to now.
"If these changes were to go ahead, signposting in Cheltenham would need to be much more effective – telling people where they are going and how long it is going to take them."
Paul Griffiths added: "I haven't heard anything about using the park and ride to keep vehicles out of the town centre. Surely that must be looked at."
Another member of the audience added: "I cycle through parts of Cheltenham.
"What would the impact be for cyclists."
Jeremy Williamson, managing director of the Cheltenham Development Taskforce and Chris Riley, of Gloucestershire Highways, were on hand to explain their vision for the future.
The volume of traffic flowing through Cheltenham is projected to increase by anywhere between 34 and 55 per cent between now and 2035.
Mayor councillor Colin Hay, who chaired the meeting, said changes as drastic as those being proposed were bound to provoke come criticism.
"We've just got to look at what works and what doesn't work," he said.
"In order for the town to stay alive and keep thriving in future it has to change."
The scheme would be subject to a detailed consultation before it could become a reality.
And Mr Williamson, speaking afterwards, urged people to join in the debate.
"Cheltenham is at a crossroads," he said.
"These plans could really shape the future of the town so we want people to tell us what they think."