Notes of Meeting in Bowling Green Lane 30th April 2013


To discuss how to deal with the overall traffic management issues in the Albrighton District and to also look at one of these issues – Bowling Green Lane


Alice Dilly – Principal Traffic Engineer, Shropshire Council

Graham Downes – Highways Manager, Shropshire Council

Tim Smith - Finance Director, David Austin Roses (DAR)

Peter Woodman – Chairman, Albrighton & District Civic Society

Rod Smith – Secretary, Albrighton & District Civic Society

Ron Kidson - Albrighton & District Civic Society

Peter Leigh - Albrighton & District Civic Society

Alan Wilmot - Albrighton & District Civic Society

The Civic Society explained their view that a comprehensive approach should be taken to review the various traffic issues in the district, many of which were inter related. A piecemeal tackling of separate matters as they arose was not the best way forward and could end up costing more. One of the issues was the dangerous state of the central part of Bowling Green Lane between Old Worcester Road (OWR) and Elm Road roundabout, especially its narrowness. The other was the potential to make most vehicles access DAR (primarily the delivery heavy goods vehicles and coaches) from the A464 and along the south part of BGL, rather than through Albrighton. The Society also pointed out that DAR was both a major local employer and an international exporter and the business should be encouraged. DAR was an important economic factor to both Albrighton and Shropshire and also brought in significant income to the UK from abroad.

TS gave a summary of DAR:- Turnover rose from £9 million in 2006 to more than £15 million in 2012 and was continuing to grow and to make more and more exports of plants. Growth expected to be at least 10% annually. Employs 170 people with more than 95% living within 10 to 15 miles; seasonal work increases this to about 250 people. There were about 700 heavy goods deliveries and about 50 coach arrivals per year – hence traffic volume was high.

AD explained that SC had limited funds and was having to make priorities and focus on severe issues. The funding for the work of creating passing places and patching of South BGL (Drg No. 1046521-020-P-BGL-003 dated 21/09/2012) had not been approved by SC. The Civic Society felt that this scheme was not the best way to spend scarce resources as it was merely a sticking plaster approach and a more medium/longer term solution was perhaps better.

GD said that even if the proposed scheme did not go ahead then he still had to consider some limited patching to make the road safer – all agreed with that. He noted that SC had received numerous claims for damage to vehicles in BGL. TS said that in the last couple of years he had had two accidents in central BGL and one involved a police car – the road was so narrow and with blind bends.GD said that he had only a limited budget to spend on all schemes in the Bridgnorth sector and that he had to balance priorities. All were sympathetic to the problem and were keen to help SC spend wisely.

Central BGL (between OWR and Elm Rd) already had a 7.5t Weight Restriction from Old Worcester Rd to Elm Rd but even while on site a heavy goods vehicle was seen to come from the A464 to Elm Rd, ignoring the restriction. AD felt that they could help with better signage and the Society said that if so then perhaps the Society could help by lobbying for more police enforcement.

GD explained that central BGL (between OWR and Elm Rd) had no edge drainage such as ditches and that to improve that part of the road would not only need a wider road ie two lanes but also edge drains. A wider road would require some land take. He said that such drains would possibly need a long discharge pipe, perhaps down Old Worcester Rd, which would take up too much of his budget. TS suggested that DAR have some water courses/drains on their side of the land boundary and that it may be possible to follow a shorter egress and discharge road water directly into these which would save cost and DAR would be pleased to have the water. After the meeting GD, AD and TS went to inspect the DAR drain system to check on what could be done.

The Society also noted that there were high volumes of traffic now coming from A464 into Cross Rd and through Albrighton to reach the M54 and suggested that the sign at the end of Cross Rd could be changed to show that the route to “RAF Cosford” and “RAF Museum” and “to M54” was to continue along the A464 to its traffic light junction with the A41 (the junction had been widened specially for this a few years ago) and then to turn northwards on the A41 to reach Cosford and the M54.

The Society wondered if DAR could state on all their Purchase Orders that all deliveries were to come via south BGL and specifically that all coming from M54 were to use A41 to the traffic light junction with A464 and to turn right into and follow A464, then to turn into the south part of BGL and not to come through Albrighton. Similarly all arranged coach parties to be similarly directed. TS said that they tried to do this but that he would review the matter and see if the effectiveness of this could be improved. The Society suggested that to aid this, the "brown sign” on Newport Road at the end of North BGL should be removed and a new brown sign erected on the a41 (before the turning into Newport Rd at the Garden Centre) directing traffic to DAR along A41 to its traffic light junction with A464 and then to the existing brown sign on the A464 at the south end of BGL. TS felt that for deliveries and coaches this was ok but wanted to consider the effect of this on cars coming to DAR.

AD and GD acknowledged that an overall review of traffic issues would be a good way forward but that resources were needed for this.

The Society fully understood that SC’s traffic engineering department was low on resource and suggested that at least an agreement that an overall and comprehensive review of traffic management could be made. The Society also suggested that if an overall plan for traffic management was established and that if this entailed repairs and improvements and new construction which was beyond the current council funding then they would campaign for additional government funding to assist the SC officers carry out their plans. The Society recalled that a campaign was very well run by Ron Kidson and Don Hickman who had lobbied parliament, including meetings in Westminster, which resulted in the £8 million scheme to improve drainage throughout Albrighton and reduce flooding.

All at the meeting were in agreement that traffic management issues should be explored further and it was agreed that another meeting would be held to see how the matters could be progressed. This would be done by a smaller group with the Civic Society being represented by RS and RK, DAR by TS and SC by AD & GD and it would be necessary that representatives from Albrighton Parish Council and Cllr Malcolm Pate would also be included to allow matters to progress further.

RS would make some brief notes of today’s meeting for circulation and finalisation/agreement by all par

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