It's no surprise to hear that the highway authorities are set to further confuse Keynsham motorists. Following the controversial 'traffic calming' scheme in 2001, the so-called experts are keen to disrupt the quiet town with a series of roundabouts and pedestrian crossings, supposedly aimed at improving the flow of cars, busses and trucks. But underneath this latest hair-brained project lies a sinister attempt to pedestrianise the town centre and effectively move the High Street fifty yards west to Ashton Way.
The plans, recently given a public airing via a display in the library, neatly co-incide with recent revelations in the Evening Post that the High Street will be closed to motorists for six weekends in the name of 'research'. Coupled with the new mini roundabouts at the junction of Rock Road and Temple Street, and outside the newly-enlarged British Legion, all the signs point towards a patio-slab-infested main drag within two years. Local retailers have constantly reminded planners of the dangers of turning the centre into a ghost town, seemingly without success.
The new High Street
As pressure groups and think tanks begin the costly process of 'debating' this questionable proposal, there will undoubtedly be sleepless nights in the corridors of power as big-wigs work out bigger and better ways of fooling the public into agreeing with their ludicrous attempts at spending tax-payers' money. Why do we need this 'improvement'? Is the problem really that bad? Can't we spend the money on DVD's, wine and wicked tattoos instead?
We took these questions to the citizens of Keynsham, but everyone avoided us when they saw our clip boards and spangly waistcoats. Instead, we spoke to a taxi driver called Steve on the way home from a good cidering in Brunel's Backyard. He told us: "Bloody 'ell mate, they only just got running water in Cane Shum ain't they? Last time I took anyone there, it was all fields and flooding. I'm quite surprised to hear that they actually got roads at all. Smells of chocolate there, dunnit? That'll be fifteen quid mate."
The last time a controversial traffic planning scheme hit the headlines was when the Romans lodged plans to build a new villa over the by-pass. The proposal was thrown out by BANES' predecessors Wansdyke District Council and the Romans retreated to Rome in dejection. Villagers then went on to build a big wall, calling it 'The Wansdyke' out of respect.
to view our exclusive traffic simulation. Stay tuned for more on the Invasion Of The Roundabouts next issue. Failing that, give Neil Terry of BANES Traffic & Safety Team a call on 01225 394048, because he knows more about this kind of thing than we do.