Changes made as Boots Corner trial continues
Published on 21st December 2018
Following a review of the public feedback and monitoring data, some proposed changes to the ‘Boots Corner’ trial have been agreed between Gloucestershire County Council and the borough council. In summary, the trial will be extended to August 2019, there will be additional blue badge provision and changes to the highway in some areas will take place.
The trial, which began on 28 June, affects the section of Clarence Street through ‘Boots Corner’, North Street, Clarence Parade and Pittville Street through to Imperial Circus. General traffic is prohibited within this zone 24 hours a day.
It’s now nearly six months into the experimental changes to the road layout in the centre of Cheltenham. Improving the environment, traffic management and boosting the local economy is at the heart of the Cheltenham Transport Plan (CTP), the borough council’s vision for a better town centre.
The 18 month trial makes provision for the scheme to be adjusted in response to feedback from local residents and visitors and data gathered throughout the trial.
Some common themes have emerged in the feedback received in the first six months which highlight access concerns for businesses on Clarence Parade and the western end of Clarence Street, along with observations about blue badge parking in the town centre.
Comments about road signs and markings were recorded early on in the trial, but these have decreased as people get used to the changes and following the additional traffic management measures introduced in early August.
Other topics included observations about traffic increases on other routes around the town and increases in journey times.
In response to these points, a revised concept (for which a visual plan will be available in due course) will see the start of the trial area moved to a point in Clarence Street between Post Office Lane and Imperial Circus. This would limit the traffic moving along Clarence Street to buses, taxis and private hire vehicles.
This change will mean Clarence Parade and the western end of Clarence Street will be opened to all vehicles with two way traffic flow.
The Pittville St to North St corridor will be covered by a 24-hour prohibition of driving order, with exemptions for buses, taxis and private hire vehicles with service access between 6pm -10am.
Included in the changes will be additional blue badge parking bays in Winchcombe Street, immediately north of the High Street, and a no-waiting at any time restriction put on Post Office Lane.
Due to the physical alterations to the highway which will be required and changes to the current experimental legal orders, we are likely to see these changes in place by spring of next year.
The current formal representation period for the trial was due to finish on the 28 December, but will now be extended to at least August 2019. To date, 459 formal representations have been received. Although the extension is a legal requirement as a result of changing the experimental traffic regulation order, it has the added advantage of enabling more assessment of how the scheme operates including during Gold Cup Week when traffic will be at its peak.
Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, said: ‘’I am pleased that together with the county, we have been able to respond to concerns and adjust the trial. Some felt the trial would not cope with schools returning in Sept, it did and in the run up to Christmas, with shopping and pantomime trips, it coped once again. It is therefore logical to extend the trial through to the next peak which is the racing festival in March.’’
Rupert Cox, MD of Stagecoach West, said “Continuation of the trial is to be welcomed, particularly as the next phase will respond to concerns raised. During the past few months the number of people using Stagecoach buses in Cheltenham has increased by almost 10,000 journeys a week, reflecting the willingness of local people and visitors to the town to move to a more sustainable transport solution.”
Nick King, head of Formal Investments currently delivering the new 80,000ft² Honeybourne Place office development and operators of Formal House and Festival House, said: “I welcome the news that the trial is to be extended, especially in light of the changes which respond to the concerns raised. Long term the removal of through traffic will help sustain the town centre”
Residents and visitors are encouraged to continue to share their feedback about the trial scheme formally at gloucestershire.gov.uk/ctp
Contact: Communications team, Cheltenham Borough Council, telephone 01242 264154, email firstname.lastname@example.org