Severnside action group to be formed

The Conservatives

A new group is to be created to tackle the growing problem of traffic in the Severnside area.

Campaigners are to approach major local employers about joining the group in an effort to bring together business, the council and members of the wider community.

Efforts to set up the group are being led by the Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Sheila Cook, newly-elected MP for the Filton and Bradley Stoke constituency, Jack Lopresti and local Pilning resident, Robert Griffin, in response to residents’ growing concerns about the impact of rapid development in the Severnside area.

Not only is the Western Approach Distribution Centre near Severn Beach expanding rapidly thanks to a 1957 planning consent, but the Avonmouth/Severnside area is fast becoming a centre for waste disposal. The waste company, Sita, has recently submitted a planning application for an ‘energy recovery centre’ within South Gloucestershire, which, if approved, would generate further traffic movements.

The ultimate goal of the group is to see a new junction built on the M49 motorway – potentially funded by the growth in business rates that is almost certain to result from ongoing development in the area.

The Council’s Core Strategy – which is currently out for consultation – reaffirms its commitment to pushing for a new M49 junction, as well as other local road changes, such as a new spine road which it is anticipated could eventually become the realigned A403 – part of which has already been constructed.

Commenting on the new group, Cllr Cook said:

“The group will aim to bring everyone together in order to address the impact of current and future development at Severnside on the local road network and residents living nearby.

Despite submitting our Accelerated Development Zone proposal to the previous Labour government last summer, we never heard back.

We know that the new Coalition government has got some truly horrifying economic challenges to deal with, but we will ensure that the Severnside issue is kept firmly on their radar as we want to explore with them new and innovative ways to fund transport infrastructure improvements.”

Newly-elected MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke, Jack Lopresti, said:

“The time has come to join together and speak with one voice on this hugely important issue

One of the biggest concerns which local people raise with me on the doorstep is the increasing level of traffic, particularly HGVs, along both the A403 and more local roads, including through Easter Compton and Pilning.

Ever growing HGV movements as a result of the continual expansion of the Western Approach distribution centre could be compounded by the nearby waste facility that Sita is proposing, not to mention the other waste and industrial facilities which are planned in the Avonmouth area.

We need to see various people and organisations come together, including the council, government agencies, local businesses and residents.”

Pilning resident, Robert Griffin, added:

“As a local resident, the thought of an ever expanding level of heavy goods traffic using our already over-stretched local road network fills me with horror.

Major highway changes, like a new M49 junction, would make a real difference to local people’s quality of life and we need to do all we can to build the case to achieve this.”

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council

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