The Gedling Access Road only offers a short-term solution to our traffic problems, says Philip Oddie from Willow Farm Action Group…
The residents of Gedling have waited for their bypass for many years and, at last, the construction of the Gedling Access Road (GAR) has started however, should we be celebrating the fact that this long awaited road is due to be opened in 2021 and will it actually deliver the reduction in traffic within Gedling Village that we have been promised and desperately need?
The GAR planning application in 2014, identified that 12,000 vehicles per day used Arnold Lane / Main Road / Shearing Hill in Gedling however, since then the numbers have risen to over 15,000 per day, making this route one of the most heavily used roads in the region, with the section between Lambley Lane and Main Road operating over capacity.
Whilst, historically, the need to reduce the traffic levels within Gedling has been the driving force behind the plans to build this new road, the sheer scale of Gedling Borough Council’s plans to develop the area has forced a change to the primary purpose of the road, from providing a bypass to a road which unlocks land at the edge of Gedling for new housing.
These plans will result in 1050 new homes being built on Chase Farm and 110 on Willow Farm, with both developments having direct access to Arnold Lane / Main Road. Despite this change, Nottinghamshire County Council , as the Highways Authority, and Gedling Borough Council have continued to assure us that the GAR will provide a bypass link to the east of Gedling that will deliver a reduction in traffic through Gedling Village.
Put simply, the Borough Council’s plan for new housing is based upon a premise that the opening of the GAR will reduce the volume of traffic using the route through Gedling Village and that this will then free up the capacity to cope with the additional traffic generated by the new housing developments.
“The statements made that there will be a reduction in the traffic levels through Gedling Village, appear to be based upon half-truths which focus on the short term ‘benefits’ and ignore the longer term impact of their housing plans on our local roads.”– Philip Oddie
Throughout the planning process, Gedling Borough Council has continued to claim that Gedling will benefit from a reduction in the level of traffic on the Arnold Lane / Main Road / Shearing Hill route.
Nottinghamshire County Council published a report last year which confirmed that, with the opening of the GAR, there will be an initial reduction in the volume of traffic through Gedling Village however, the longer term projection, which takes account of the additional traffic generated by the new housing developments, is that the level of traffic will, in fact, rise to 18350 vehicles per day by 2034, which is an increase of over 2000 above the current levels.
The amount of traffic will, of course, increase as the new homes are completed and occupied and by 2026, 506 new homes are expected to have been completed on Chase Farm and 110 on Willow Farm, with the result that the volume of traffic on the route through Gedling Village is highly likely to exceed current levels within 5 years of the opening of the GAR.
The statements made by the Borough Council that there will be a reduction in the traffic levels through Gedling Village, appear to be based upon half-truths which focus on the short term ‘benefits’ of the GAR to local residents and ignore the longer term impact of their housing plans on our local roads.
Certainly, I feel mislead and I am sorry to say that, in my opinion, the GAR offers no benefits at all for existing residents, other than a short term respite from the current traffic levels. To be clear, the responsibility for delivering the GAR rests with Nottinghamshire County Council however, the responsibility for the scale of housing developments within Gedling and the access arrangements for those developments rests with Gedling Borough Council.
It is the Borough Council’s plans that will lead directly to local residents, in the near future, suffering the misery of a level of traffic through Gedling Village which is well beyond the current level which the Highways Authority has already assessed as providing ‘neither a safe nor a pleasant environment for both local residents and drivers’.
I have detailed the concerns outlined within this article to both Nottinghamshire County Council and Gedling Borough Council and I am currently waiting for a response.