Hopes of Saltford bypass for village are dashed
The prospect of a bypass being built for Saltford has been snuffed out as senior politicians concentrate on improving public transport.
Villagers have campaigned off and on for more than 30 years for a bypass for the busy A4 road.
But Bath and North East Somerset Council says there is no money to investigate the idea, and no feasible route for such a road.
The two Conservative councillors for the village say B&NES's Liberal Democrat rulers should make good on pledges to look at the practicalities of a bypass in the authority's core strategy planning blueprint.
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They say 70 per cent of respondents to a survey carried out in 2007 were in favour of a bypass, although the Liberal Democrats claim that the question was qualified by the phrase "if traffic increased".
Councillor Mathew Blankley (Con, Saltford) said: "A Saltford bypass is something which has been mooted as a possibility for a long time, but no feasibility study has been undertaken for many years. A commitment to looking at a Saltford bypass is within the council's core strategy and Local Transport Plan, so it's very disappointing that the Lib Dem cabinet is refusing to put any funding towards a study.
"There would of course be many hurdles to jump before a bypass could become a reality, not least what route it could take and the need for central government funding. But unless B&NES takes the lead and carries out a study, we will never know whether these issues are resolvable."
The council is spending £100,000 on a study into the options for reopening the village railway station, but the other councillor for Saltford, Francine Haeberling, pictured, said it was putting all its eggs in one basket.
"The council should be open to looking at all options for improving transport and reducing traffic and pollution."
B&NES cabinet member for transport Councillor Roger Symonds (Lib Dem, Combe Down) said the volume of traffic through the village had actually decreased in recent years.
"What we are doing is extending the park and ride at Newbridge, getting new park and ride buses, and ensuring the bus route between Bath and Bristol is made more attractive, with real time information.
"There is a vast amount of support for the reopening of the station and that's what we're moving ahead with."
He added: "I'm not sure where the Tories think a bypass is going to go. There is no route for the bypass."