11 May 2015 Transport Group : Minutes

Avebury Parish Council

Transport Group

Minutes of a meeting of the Transport Group of Avebury Parish Council held at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF at 7pm on Monday 11th May 2015.

In these minutes APC stands for Avebury Parish Council, AONB for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, AWHS for Avebury World Heritage Site.

Time Start: 19:05

  1. Transport Group members present: Dr Mike Bedford (Chairman of the Group and Vice-Chairman APC), Moya Brannon (item 7 to 10), David Brotheridge (member APC), Mike Daniel (member APC), Keith Howell (member APC), Rob Macaire, Angela Norman and Andrew Williamson (APC member). Members of the public present: none
  2. Introduction of new members: members welcomed Angela Norman (Green Street).
  3. Apologies for absence: Kate Fry, Stephen Stacey, Simon Vatcher and Peter Wilson.
  4. Declarations of interest: none
  5. Acceptance of minutes of 17 April: Mr Daniel requested the last words in the paragraph under item 6di be changed from ‘…double white lines in the Rawlins Park to Melbourne House area.’ to ‘…double white lines in the Rawlins Park to East Farm area.’ Further to this amendment, the minutes were unanimously agreed as an accurate record. Proposed by Mr Howell and seconded by Mr Daniel.
  6. Actions from minutes: a.   Report on meeting with Cllr Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport:  Dr MB and AW reported that they had presented the WHS Transport Strategy to PW and that he had been very complimentary about it.  He had noted that public expenditure was constrained, and reinforced APC’s view that anything that was already in the Strategy would be far easier to get actioned. Dr MB read out a list of funding sources (see Appendix 1). Dr MB stated it might be possible to tackle the whole of the A4 project and put it forward to be funded by WC end of fiscal 2015-2016 budget. Dr MB said once members had identified priority projects the next step was for the Group to seek the support of local people at a public meeting and for APC adopt them.  APC would then forward them to Parvis Khansari (Associate Director Highways and Transport at WC) who would then arrange for staff to come back with estimate costings. It would also be useful to copy in Councillor Philip Whitehead. Dr MB confirmed that funding for repairs to footpath 22 would be coming from a WC footpath budget.
  7. Re-cap of Avebury Traffic Plan and WHS Transport Stategy developed over the past three years:
  1. Relevance of Avebury’s Parish Traffic Plan and WHS Transport Strategy: the meeting agreed that the main theme which had emerged as a priority for the community, across the whole area, was traffic speeds.  The Parish Traffic Plan and WHS Strategy both supported that.There was a discussion of how best to achieve lower speeds (Dr MB reported Cllr PW was not keen on putting up signs if they were not enforceable.  The Police would also resist new limits that they did not have the resources to enforce). AW said that both the Parish Plan and the WHS Strategy gave priority to reducing vehicle speeds by the use of ‘design speeds’.  While speed limits would be relevant in some areas, changing the design of roads could be more effective in changing driver behaviour.
  2. Design principles: extract from the Parish Traffic Plan tabled and see appendix 2.  Members also referred to Part 5 of the WHS Transport Strategy.
  3. Concept of ‘design speeds’ versus speed limits: in discussion members felt the majority of people adhered to speed limits but if the design was done correctly and combined with a reduced speed limit then the road would feel slower. Dr MB said speed limits would not get considered unless the road was also redesigned.

8.  Tactics:

      1. Most effective methods of securing action by Wiltshire Highways, and others: already covered.
      2. Funding sources: already covered.
      3. Maximising support at officer and councillor levels in Wiltshire Council: AW said it would be good to look for support from North Wessex Downs AONB, National Trust, UNESCO and others.

AN asked if it would be possible to put together a list of key people. AW suggested that Cllr PW would be an important point of contact in referring the Transport Group to the correct contacts at WC.

9.  Next steps:

a.  Consideration of draft proposal to the Community Area Transport Group to extend 30mph limit on Swindon Road northwards to Rutlands Farm: AW reported this had been endorsed by APC at a previous Council meeting on 5 May.  APC had agreed not to ask for additional requests outside the WHS Transport Strategy but to bring forward a second phase e.g. 40 mph buffer zone, at a later date if the extension of the 30mph limit was not effective. Transport Group members were satisfied with the decision.

b.  Develop proposals in greater detail for each hamlet – Avebury, Trusloe, Beckhampton, West Kennett: Dr MB stated it was a marriage of desire for WHS-wide speed limit with the possible. Dr MB said there might be first level projects that could be fed into different funding streams, e.g. CATG or the substantive fund, and second level projects that might require the largest funding.  Cllr PW had suggested that the Group should progress the latter, larger projects so that they would be ready for occasional and unpredictable large-scale releases of funds by Treasury.  These tended to occur in the first quarter of a calendar year.

 AW stated there were various projects already in hand such as parking in Trusloe that did not fall into the categories mentioned by Dr MB. AN asked how smaller projects would be delivered. AW said that the Community Area Transport Group covered most smaller projects.  He also gave the example of signage in Green Street and said this could be dealt with further in a signage audit.  He therefore recommended putting in motion the signage audit scheme. In discussion, members felt the initial two main focus areas should be West Kennett and Beckhampton.

(i) West Kennett          

Section 3.2_A4 West Kennett (AWHS Transport Strategy) tabled. RM said the priority for West Kennett would be to narrow the road. AW reported Cllr PW had said in order to slow traffic through West Kennett he had recommended narrowing the road before entry to the hamlet from the east and west on the A4, using a chicane design. RM stated phase one could be focussed on reducing speed limit by narrowing the road and putting in a footpath south of the A4 (to Gunsite Road). Phase two could be cycle parking, car parking, bus stop and any other footpath work. AW and Dr MB asked RM for the views of West Kennett residents on moving the bus stop into the layby. RM said there was concern that any new bus stop should not be directly outside the houses on the layby, as suggested by the sketch in the WHS Strategy, but moving it slightly up the layby and onto the island would resolve any concerns, and on that basis residents were supportive.   It might require a bus shelter and more funding would therefore be required, so residents would not want that to hold up the works to the road.   RM would review residents’ views again.

(ii)  Beckhampton

3.4_A4 Beckhampton (AWHS Transport Strategy) tabled. Dr MB reported Cllr PW had advised that putting hedging around the whole of the approach roads could result in reduced sightlines and consequent liability claims against Highways following accidents. In discussion Dr MB advised the Group to prioritise putting in splitter islands to the roundabout one at a time and recommended the first one should be implemented on the A361 Devizes road as this was the most dangerous area on approach to the roundabout and a request for the second one to be installed on the A4361 towards Trusloe. AW recommended setting up a community planting scheme for the roundabout and verges and members thought this was a good idea. Decisions deferred to next meeting. On street lighting at the junction, there was a case for it being retained as it was used by emergency vehicles and to warn drivers they were approaching a roundabout but, on the other hand, most local residents favoured it being removed.

(iii) Conclusion

Dr MB stated sections 3.1-3.5 of the AWHS Transport Strategy could be treated as one project (East Gateway / The Sanctuary, West Kennett, Kennet Valley – West Kennet Long Barrow / Silbury Hill, Beckampton and Western Gateway / Knoll). In discussion, members noted there was only one house at Silbury Hill but many walkers.  Sightlines were however good unlike those at the Sanctuary. Members felt they should not lump all the A4 schemes into a single project in discussions with Wiltshire Council, because the cost would probably be prohibitive and nothing would happen.   The group should initially focus on solutions for West Kennett and Beckhampton, without ruling out treating all of 3.1 – 3.5 as a single project in future if funding became available.  

c.  Signage improvements: members agreed APC should also press for this.

 

MB asked if it was feasible to get additional high trees planted on the Swindon Road. She said that Lime trees were extremely slow growing and alternative trees should be interspersed so that a quicker result might be achieved to reduce sight lines and slow traffic. In discussion members noted the current 30 mph speed limit did not stop all cars from overtaking and therefore additional tree plantings could support and improve the effectiveness of moving the 30 mph speed limit northwards. Members noted the area for planting was by the telephone exchange, on NT land on the west side of the A4361. AW asked MB to make a drawing of where she thought the trees should be planted. MB, MD and DB agreed to meet and draw a sketch plan.

Decision: RM and Dr MB to consult residents in West Kennett and Beckhampton to put together their proposals for the two main focus areas and then to request Wiltshire Council to provide estimates of relative costs. Members agreed the size of the two schemes and their location along the A4 corridor meant they could go in as one project for possible funding by the WC end of fiscal 2015-2016 budget. The signage audit scheme would be recommended to APC for action. In the meantime, MB would provide a sketch plan of proposed planting on A4361. Proposed by Mr Howell, seconded by Dr MB and carried unanimously.

10.  Any other business: none

11.  Date of next meeting: 7pm on Tuesday 9 June.

The meeting closed at 20:40

 

Appendices:

  1. List of funding sources

Sources of funding, in increasing order of funding ability

a. Local parishioners/collections and the Avebury Parish council itself.

b. CATG – up to 25k projects. Avebury has not had such an award for a while due to waiting for publication of WHS document so we are “due” for an allocation if the proposal is good enough.

c. Substantive schemes – available from the council for projects above £25ke.

d. Maintenance budget – any scheduled maintenance should and will be adjusted to take into account of modification of the roads that are in the plan and can be accommodated by scheduled maintenance works.

e.  National funding – often at end of fiscal year a potentially very large pot of money appears with very short notice (3 weeks) and is allocated to those with plans at hand which are costed and ready to go. This means that only pre-approved plans get such money. One action for the transport group would be to consider such a plan to deal with the high cost traffic calming ideas along the A4 from Overton hill to the racing stables at the Calne exit from the roundabout. If a plan is produced and ready to go then this could radically reduce the time likely needed to deliver the changes needed using fund sources aàd above.

f.  Leveraging WHS status with multiple commercial and Governmental/EU funds may be possible if the right emphasis is put on the specific project. One such route would be as above (e) to make evident that the application we are putting in is not just for the residents but also to 250,000 + visitors to a WHS site.

2.  Extract of Design Principles adopted in the Parish Traffic Plan:

In addressing the delicate balance between highways and special places such as Avebury and the surrounding WHS, our proposals seek to influence driver behaviour and traffic speeds by emphasizing a close relationship between highway design and details, and the specific context of each place and set of circumstances. To this end we aim to avoid reliance on standardised signs and markings, barriers and conventional traffic calming measures. Instead the proposals intend to alert drivers to the unique surroundings of the Parish of Avebury, and to ensure that, as far as possible, the highway forms an integral part of the settlements and the World Heritage Site. Legibility, low speeds and a reduction in highway intrusion underpin our approach. The design principles include:

  • careful attention to the entry points into the site, and into each settlement, to contrast the low-speed context of the villages and archaeological sites with the remainder of the highway,
  • strong emphasis on place-making at key locations to maintain driver awareness and lower speeds,
  • the use of contextually appropriate surface materials, verge details, minimal intrusive road markings and reductions in apparent carriageway widths to emphasize pedestrian activity and likely crossing points throughout the Parish, and
  • the use of carefully selected and appropriate materials and elements to clarify the vehicular boundaries between the visitor and residential areas of the Avebury village core.

Given the constraints on resources, the plan concentrates on a limited number of important focal points where improvements are necessary and where the combined efforts of Wiltshire Council, the local community and other stakeholders could develop sensitive and effective ways to minimise the impact of traffic and maintain the distinctive qualities of place on which Avebury relies.  [The Plan then proposes schemes for nine ‘Focal Points’ and the need for better signage. Eight of the Focal Points are the Red Lion/Green Street area, Avebury High Street, the Rawlins Park/Swindon Road area, NT main car park, Trusloe/Bray Street, Beckhampton, West Kennett and the four scheduled monuments along the A4.  The ninth ‘Focal Point’ addresses intermittent events such as summer solstice, and an appendix addresses the need for better signage.]