More than 9,800 residents in Bradford on Avon will be given the chance next month to comment on the options to improve traffic safety in the town.

Two public engagement drop-in events will be held at St Margaret’s Hall on Wednesday, March 20 from 4pm to 8pm, and on Saturday, March 23 from 10am to 2pm.

The town council has committed to deliver a meaningful public engagement on the traffic issues that have dogged the town’s main roads for more than 40 years.

The public engagement sessions follow the recent publication of Wiltshire Council options following a traffic modelling study.

The aim is to improve safety in the town for pedestrians and cyclists and improve air quality.

The town’s traffic campaigners, including Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon and Living Streets Bradford on Avon, last month gave a ‘cautious welcome’ to the findings.

The long-awaited traffic modelling study produced for Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council has suggested a combination of one-way roads and traffic-calming to help make a town safer.

The report by AtkinsRealis UK outlined three options:

  • Option A - creating a one- way system in Market Street & Silver Street.
  • Option B - installing road narrowing 'pinch points' , two in Market Street and one in Silver Street.
  • Option C - making Silver Street one-way combined with priority narrowing in Market Street.

AtkinsRealis has recommended Option C, a short one-way system in Silver Street and ‘priority narrowing’ in Market Street.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Bradford on Avon traffic modelling - Option CBradford on Avon traffic modelling - Option C (Image: Trevor Porter)

They say this would enable a significant change in the character of the town through limited widening on Market Street and significant footway widening on Silver Street without having a major impact on traffic flows.

Their preferred option followed the six-month traffic modelling scheme that took place last year.

The town council received the report on January 8 and discussed it at a sustainable transport committee meeting on January 23. 

Cllr Tim Trimble, chair of the town council's sustainable travel committee, said "It seems to me that Option C was a good option and was the one recommended by the consultants.

"I think Option C is a really good compromise and an ingenious solution to the problems we have.

"It means that the bus services can run on time and we can widen the pavements."

Cllr Trimble said Option C enables the two councils to protect pedestrians and cyclists using Silver Street where most accidents occur and the top end of Market Street where the pavements is narrow.

He added: "Option A simply replaces the one-way system that we had during the Covid pandemic. We ended up with a lot of congestion, particularly on the north side of town.

"It became very difficult to run a sensible bus service because it took 10-20 minutes to cross through the town and that means the bus companies can't run to their normal schedule.

"That is unacceptable when we want more people to use the buses not less."

Cllr Trimble said Option B provided pinch point priority narrowing but did not provide enough safety for pedestrians and cyclists through pavement widening.

At the public engagement sessions there will be a chance for residents to view the report and its findings.

The town council committed £33,350 (66 per cent) towards the total £50,000 cost of producing the options following the traffic modelling scheme.

Councillors have requested guarantees that the final decision on the plan will rest with the town council and reassurance that Wiltshire Council would progress the project at the earliest opportunity.