Taking the myths out of the Boots Corner trial restriction

Myth

Reality

"The area was supposed to be pedestrianised, but it’s not, buses and taxis still go through"

The scheme is designed to promote the use of public transport, walking and cycling for short journeys, whilst at the same time strengthening the town centre economy. The area was never intended to be fully closed.

It's really important that buses and taxis still have easy access to the centre to get people there and we need to ensure that businesses can be serviced.

As this is a trial, we can't make any permanent changes, as they may need to be reversed if the trial is not deemed successful.

"The number of disabled spaces has reduced"

We want to reassure people that, in consultation with the Cheltenham Disability Forum, even more Blue Badge provision is now available across a wider area of the town centre at:

  • Crescent Terrace
  • Inner Promenade
  • Grosvenor Place South
  • Imperial Square (Eastern arm)
  • Clarence Street

Download the Cheltenham town centre disabled bays map for locations of on-street parking bays.

All of our car parks offer disabled spaces and Shopmobility offer an excellent service including their invaluable 'meet and greet' scheme, where residents and visitors can register and pre-book wheelchairs, motorised scooters or other required equipment. The 'meet and greet' service is available by arrangement. Call 01242 255333 or email shopmobility@cheltenham.gov.uk to register and use the service.

"The council expects everyone to walk, cycle or get the bus into town – what about the elderly and disabled?"

We want to encourage people to think about their journeys and to use alternative methods of transport when possible. Getting people out of their cars, especially for shorter journeys, will help to reduce traffic on our roads, making the town centre even more accessible for people who have no other option than to use their car.

"The Boots Corner trial is having a negative impact on traffic elsewhere"

 

The reduction in traffic now going through the area has been transformational and as expected, commuter behaviour is changing.

Traffic flow information is being collected at 27 sites across the town centre, to understand the effects of the various phases as they have been implemented. Once GCC have the data they compare it against the previous flow data before the Transport Plan was implemented. This allows them to identify areas where traffic flows have changed and seek options to address them, such as changes to signal timings.

"The scheme is driving investment away from the town centre – undermining confidence"

We are pleased that John Lewis Partnership have opened a store in the heart of our town. Our town centre is thriving and further investment continues to happen such as Urban Outfitters, the Botanist and SGL offices at the Brewery Quarter.

Supporting our commitment towards office space, Ellenborough House, a commercial property at the heart of Cheltenham’s town centre, has been purchased by the council to support the local economy. The property, on the corner of Oriel Road and Wellington Street, was completely refurbished in 2011 and offers 47,000 square feet over four floors with 49 off road parking spaces.

Investment like this shows strong confidence in Cheltenham’s town centre.

The massive reduction in vehicle movements through the centre of our high street makes it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to move along the high street, connecting the Brewery and lower high street with John Lewis and The Strand

"The scheme is driving trade away from local businesses"

We’re listening to local business owners. We’ve met with them and are currently working to find solutions that will help address their concerns.  We're having ongoing discussions with local business and their BID (Business Improvement District) representatives.

"Business are unable to receive deliveries or allow collections under the new restrictions"

Deliveries or collections are possible on the access restricted roads during the 6pm – 10am loading/unloading period. This will mean that any deliveries/collections will need to be arranged to fit in with this period. Alternatively, there are many loading bays located just outside the restricted zone – please consult our town centre loading bay map.

Loading/unloading is also permitted on double yellow lines outside of the restricted zone as long as there are no additional loading restrictions which are indicated by additional yellow markings on the kerb and upright signs setting out restrictions (see Highway Code rule 247). Parking restrictions for roads around Cheltenham town centre can be found on the map of Gloucestershire parking restrictions.

"People are going to go elsewhere for their shopping as they can’t easily drive into town"

 

The restriction of Boots Corner does not impede people wishing to visit the town centre, it will improve accessibility.

An objective of the Cheltenham Transport Plan is to encouraging people to reconsider the way in which they make their journeys and doing all we can to make cycling and the use of public transport easier and more accessible. The new bike racks which were recently installed are already proving popular with residents and visitors.

The vast majority of vehicles no longer able to use Boots Corner were passing through the town centre. The centre of town itself can be accessed by Regent Arcade car park, Bath Parade car park, Royal Well car park and St George’s Road car park, with a further 11 car parks surrounding the town. View a map of all our car parks.

A survey carried out by Cheltenham BID (September to November 2016) found that less than one in four town centre users came to Cheltenham by car, the majority arriving by bus or on foot.

The primary aim behind the transport plan is to boost the local economy, create a better town centre environment for everyone by re-connecting the two ends of the High Street, make visual enhancements and improve traffic management.

As our temporary bike racks demonstrate, using the space of two parked cars, you are able to provide spaces for 20 bicycles.

"This is a money making exercise"

This is absolutely not the case. Our aim is to prevent unauthorised traffic from passing through Boots Corner. However, when fines are collected, we have a commitment from our partners at the county council to reinvest the money into cycling and walking infrastructure for the benefit of the town.

"The council hasn’t consulted anyone"

The CTP and the Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) required to deliver elements of the plan have been widely consulted on since summer 2013.

Pre-consultation – July/August 2013 - an initial CTP scheme public consultation was carried out in the summer of 2013. During this consultation 16,000 leaflets were hand delivered to properties in the central part of Cheltenham. People who attended one of the 13 public exhibitions were also able to receive the leaflets along with further information. Leaflets were also made available at the libraries and Cheltenham Borough Council’s offices. 1,496 questionnaire responses were received following the consultation, with 73% of respondents either fully supportive of the proposals or supporting them with some reservations.

The first TRO consultation took place in spring 2014. A second revised TRO consultation was carried out in late 2014, taking into account the comments received in the first consultation. The second TRO consultation provided additional detail on the TROs and scope of the works and provided further opportunity to make representations on these.

Given the volume of representations, history of public interest and profile of the project, the proposed Traffic Regulation Orders were considered by the Traffic Regulation Committee. The Committee met in January 2015 to take public comment and consider the proposed TROs. Members made the recommendation to adopt the TROs making changes to the Cheltenham inner-ring road and to adopt on an experimental basis the orders restricting access at Boots Corner.

This was endorsed by Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet in July 2015.

Further information on the trial restriction proposals was sent out in February 2018 to over 1,000 addresses within the town centre, to help identify any significant issues in advance.

"This is just a done deal"

This is a trial. All changes, notably around the Boots Corner fountain are reversible reflecting the trial nature of the experiment.

If you would then like to make an enquiry or comment, please do so:

It is intended that an initial recommendation (taking into consideration data and feedback from the public consultation) will be made by GCC officers in February 2019 about how to proceed, which will be then put to the TRO committee for discussion. If the TROs are to be made permanent, they would be made permanent sometime between March 2019 and December 2019. If a revised experiment is to be run, the intention would be to run it from March 2019.