Conservative councillors representing the Kelston area have expressed anger at the news that B&NES Council has rejected the idea of building a temporary relief road during the long-term closure of the A431 Kelston Road.
The Liberal Democrat-run authority has announced that work to reopen the road will not be completed until Christmas, meaning that residents and commuters face another six months of traffic misery.
Conservative councillors had backed the idea of building a temporary relief road to allow local traffic to by-pass the Kelston Road closure and have been involved in negotiations with landowners in the area to help find suitable routes.
The area’s local councillors have said that B&NES should have begun work immediately on creating a temporary route back in February, as soon as it became apparent that Kelston Road would be closed on a long-term basis.
Councillor Geoff Ward (Cons, Bathavon North) said:
“If the Council had treated this issue with the urgency it warranted then we would have a temporary road already in place by now. Instead, because our Lib Dem-run Council failed to get a grip of the situation sooner, residents and commuters are now set to face another six months of misery.
“This is a main route into Bath which has already been closed for over four months. It is causing regular log-jams on diversion routes and many businesses in Kelston are warning that they face going to the wall due to the drop in passing trade.”
Fellow Councillor Terry Gazzard (Cons, Bathavon North) added:
“Having spoken with many residents and businesses in the area, I am sure there will be some relief that at least a programme of work has now been put in place.
“However, another six months is still a very long time to wait for those directly affected by this closure. The Council’s claim that a temporary road would take up to sixteen weeks to complete doesn’t stack up. We have people there willing to allow their land to be used for a temporary road and are ready to get on with building it, if only B&NES would get behind the idea. Even if the sixteen-week claim were correct, it could still have been finished and open by now if Council had got on with it.”
Councillor Martin Veal (Cons, Bathavon North) commented:
“It’s clearly positive news that the Council has finally decided on a plan to undertake the permanent repairs needed for this road. However, having already been closed for over four months, it is disappointing that the Council is not taking forward the idea of a temporary road.”