Following the decision in January to back double yellow lines around The Green, Marlborough Town Council’s Planning Committee (March 18) were faced with a further proposal – to make the route round The Green into a one-way road.
Twenty-one residents from The Green and further afield were at the meeting and heard questions about the proposal and a representation from Lilian Leadbetter who lives beside The Green. She pointed out that the double yellow lines would lose the town eight parking spaces.
The issue of the yellow lines will be discussed again at the Committee’s meeting on April 8 – and if approved, Wiltshire Council would then have to put it to a consultation process.
Councillors were uncomplimentary about the one-way proposal that had been forwarded from the Area Board with little or no detail. Councillor Fogg called the proposal ‘inadequate’: “There would need to be a lot more homework on it to see why it’s necessary.”
The suggestion for a one-way scheme had come from the Marlborough and District Housing Association and their chairman, Ken Culley, was at the meeting. He said they would withdraw it if the double yellow lines were implemented.
As we reported on January 15, this is all about access for emergency services to the Association’s sixteen homes (known collectively as ‘No. 10’) for vulnerable older people that lie behind Silbury House. It was highlighted by a fire that affected older residents and whether the fire brigade had proper and swiftly achievable access to the homes – negotiating the cars parked round The Green.
Lilian Leadbetter’s address showed councillors the complexity the one-way proposal and that for double yellow lines – and how similar issues might affect residents in other parts of the town. She said she was speaking “…as an extremely concerned resident, on behalf of many others who live on The Green, those who live and work nearby and Marlborough residents in general.”
“The proposal to make the traffic run one way is perplexing. It will, without doubt, endanger the safety of pedestrians. The combination of one-way traffic and double yellow lines which are clearly linked issues, will turn the road outside our homes into a rat run as motorists take short cuts and try to avoid any hold ups at the pedestrian crossing on Herd Street.”
She pointed out that the road was already used by some drivers as a ‘rat run’ to avoid the pedestrian crossing: “The road is the only pathway for residents, including those at No. 10, who walk into town and use the pedestrian crossing on Herd Street. There is no pavement there and some of us step from our doorways straight onto this road, including those residents at Silbury House, and other residents on The Green who are also elderly and vulnerable.”
“It is also used on a daily basis by school children and their parents, by motorised wheel chair users, and the public in general – all of whom need to be safe-guarded. The road is simply not fit for purpose as a general public highway.”
Ken Culley said the Association’s “…only interest is the welfare of residents at No 10, The Green.” He wanted the sarsen stones (see the above photo) moved back into the grass by ‘about two feet’ to give a clear roadway from Barn Street up to the entrance to the No 10 homes (seen to the right of Silbury House.)
An alternative suggestion was that an ‘invisible membrane’ – through which the grass could grow – is laid across The Green to give all-weather access for the emergency services. This would cost £11,500 and was thought to be too expensive.
Lilian Leadbetter said they were all sympathetic about access to the No 10 homes – and it already existed: “…it should be noted that the emergency services and others in large vehicles, as a rule, choose to enter from Barn Street – not the St Martin’s side. The very large Wiltshire Council refuse lorry, for example, does so on a fortnightly basis – it reverses up the small road from Herd Street in order to reach 10 The Green and does so with relative ease.”
There were conflicting narratives about the fire that raised the access issue and conflicting views too from fire fighters about the access. Perhaps before the April 8 meeting an independent report on these two aspects would aid councillors’ decisions.
Councillors decided not to forward the proposal for a one-way system round The Green to the Community Area Transport Group – which holds a budget for minor road way improvements and could pass it on to Wiltshire Council.