At Monday (15 August) evening’s meeting of the Town Council Planning Committee Lindsay Long, of the Manton Residents Association asked a very simple but pointed question: “We would like your (the Council’s) support to progress this and also an update as to progress”.
Lindsay’s question related to the many and almost historic discussions regarding how to alleviate the dangers to users on the stretch of the A4 to the West of Marlborough. Particularly regarding the near-blind junction from Manton and the adjacent pedestrian crossing.
It’s a fast stretch of road (albeit with a 40mph limit between the College and the town boundary) but particularly for any vehicle emerging from the (almost blind) Manton turning, particularly when going east (across the westbound carriageway) a driver is taking their life in their own hands. Reducing speed, looking at traffic layout, improving visibility – all these could help by improving safety along this stretch.
“It is very dodgy, that one” stated Planning Committee Chair, Cllr Nick Fogg when acknowledging the problem, adding that “the Council has raised these issues in the past”, then explaining that “The Council don’t have any powers on this, all the powers are lodged within the Highways Authority”. Cllr Fogg then went on to explain that it wasn’t ‘opinion’ that could make things happen “as everyone has an opinion”, and that the Highways Authority would need data.
Lindsay then replied that there was plenty of data, and “that we presented this data to you in the Summer of ’19”, adding that “it had been shared with Wiltshire Council”.
Cllr Fogg then acknowledged that “we have visited this issue on a number of occasions and I think that what you are asking us to do is visit it again”. Lindsay responded by stating that she wasn’t asking for this to be visited again, she just wanted to see what the progress was.
Discussion opened amongst Councillors and Cllr Jane Davies, who recently (in May) succeeded Cllr Fogg as Wiltshire Councillor for this area asked for clarity about “which issues had been taken forward to CATG” (Community Area Transport Group, the committee that makes many decisions regarding funding and acceptance of projects for this area), adding that she asks the Council to take the issues forward to CATG with the evidence that has already been presented.
Cllr Davies then asked “What’s already gone to CATG, I want support for taking the remainder of the issues to CATG” and concluding with the request that “your representatives will support this strongly when we come to the next CATG meeting”.
Chairman Cllr Fogg suggested that this go forward to the next full meeting of the Town Council so this could be taken forward to the next CATG meeting.
Lindsay Long told marlborough.news that this had been going on for a very long time, starting in 2018.
Manton Residents joined up with the ‘West of Marlborough Traffic Calming Group’ . Traffic data was collected and the Group(s) met jointly with Diane Ware (Principal technical officer (highways) – Wiltshire Council) who listened to the reports from each section between Marlborough to Beckhampton. Diane also visited each site with the representatives. She discussed proposals at each site and we reported all her suggestions to the Council June/July 2019. This then went onto CATG. But since then, nothing.
Lindsay added “We are now at August 16th  and there has been no progress. This is an increasingly busy road with our junction scheme not making progress. Pulling onto the A4 is dangerous due to speed. Both pedestrian residents and children including school children use the crossing (just to the West of the Manton road junction) on a daily basis. Traffic West to East is just not responding to the Speed Limit sign in time for the traffic lights equally traffic East to West speed up on the open road from Marlborough.”