Frome pedestrians get a rough deal from Somerset Highways
By Fromereporter | Sunday, May 22, 2011, 23:08
Local residents and parents of pupils at St John's First School have been shocked by the appearance of distinctive County Council spray marks on pavements indicating 'improvement works' for the Saxonvale development will soon be started by Somerset Highways.
Pavement markings in Garsdale, Frome
Pavement markings in Garsdale, Frome 2
Pavement markings in Garsdale, Frome showing road' islands'
The works at the key Garsdale junction will include removal of drop kerbs used by the disabled and people with pushchairs and 30% reductions of the pavement widths along the busy route. A new traffic island with central refuge is planned closer to Lidl, but Head teacher Alan Burgess said "I am really concerned about the safety aspect of narrowing the pavements which are used by children and their families walking to school along the very busy road. Putting a traffic island further down the road near Lidl is not going to stop families from continuing to cross at the top of Gardsdale where the county council is proposing to decrease the width of the pavements considerably."
The works have been planned with highway consultants working for Terramond, the developer of the Saxonvale scheme to allow for the anticipated increase in traffic generated by the future developments. Earlier proposals had suggested a traffic light controlled junction but subsequently changed to an enlarged roundabout on the advice of Somerset Highways.
Richard Swann of Frome and Distruct Civic Society said " We opposed this further erosion of the quality of the environment for pedestrians. Somerset County Council should be improving pedestrian routes not making them worse. We are very disappointed that this work is being done even before the Saxonvale development is agreed so there is no need for this work now, paid for with public money. This at a time when Somerset Highways have been severely criticised for illegally removing a listed Cockey street lamp and recently repairing the ancient cobbled streets with tarmac."
A spokesman for Somerset Highway Services defended the inappropriate repair works elsewhere in Frome "During the MTFP (Medium Term Financial Plan) budget setting process in February 2011 a saving in the safety defect repair budget resulted in the decision to repair all defects using tarmac as the permanent repair even in paved areas."
It appears however that there is money for seemingly unnecessary pavement reductions. See more images of the proposals here.