Patchway’s Labour councillors have expressed their anger that councillors from other parties look set to confirm the unpopular closure of Highwood Road.
As part of a grand plan devised many years ago, Highwood Road was to become a bus-only route once the new Hayes Way link road was built. Patchway’s Labour councillors since the 2011 election have consistently argued and campaigned against the road closure. Despite huge opposition from the local community, which included a 4,000 signature petition, large public meetings and heartfelt pleas to South Gloucestershire Council, councillors from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties voted last summer to close the road to private cars for a trial period, with Labour councillors voting against.
On Wednesday (4th September), the council’s Planning and Transport Committee will decide whether to confirm or abandon the road closure, and it would appear that the parties will vote as they did last year.
Local Labour councillor Sam Scott (Patchway ward) said:
“4,000 people have petitioned South Gloucestershire Council to reverse the closure and nine out of ten respondents to the Council’s own consultation want Highwood Road reopened. Despite the strength of local opinion, clearly expressed, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors seem likely to confirm the road closure. Instead of listening to local people’s experience since the road was closed they suggest that we have all got it wrong and that everyone’s life has improved. This shows contempt for the Patchway community and can only breed more cynicism about politics and politicians.
I find it unbelievable that certain councillors seem hell bent on sticking rigidly to a plan that was devised when I was still at school, rather than listen and respond to what local people have been telling them over the past couple of years. The three Patchway councillors elected in 2011 have consistently represented local opinion by opposing the closure of Highwood Road. Labour councillors have voted to prevent the closure at every opportunity since it was put forward over a year ago. Large numbers of local residents witnessed those votes, so they know who backed them and who let them down.”
Responding to Conservative claims that reopening the road will endanger promised transport infrastructure funding from government, Councillor Scott commented:
“The agreed transport funding is only at risk if Coalition ministers choose to withdraw it. The Conservatives should be putting their energies into lobbying their own government rather than attacking Patchway’s residents and councillors.”
3rd September 2013