What’s all the fuss at the Shell Garage Roundabout at Chipmans Platt ?
For several years now, Gloucester County Council (GCC) have been planning £4 million-worth of improvements – to our roundabout, to the Oldends Lane and Horse-trough roundabouts and to the traffic lights at Bridgend, all on the A 419. There have been plenty of public consultations and meetings with our Parish Council and Stonehouse Town Council so there should be no real surprises – but work is now actually starting and will be going on for some months..
The purpose of the works is to improve traffic flow into and out of the roundabouts by widening the road to create extra lanes for 200-400 metres in each direction as shown.
The footpaths are also to be widened to 2-metres to take cyclists and pedestrians.
This has involved some early works to improve the drainage, especially across the roundabout, which you will already have seen happening.
Parish Council and local volunteers have been at pains to stress to GCC that environmental damage should be minimised, especially after the shock of the wanton destruction of hedgerows and 200-year-old oak trees by Redrow at Great Oldbury.
GCC appeared to be taking this on board but, as we have seen before, instructions from planners so often seem to fail to reach the man with the JCB – or in this case chainsaw.
A meeting with GCC, named “meet the contractor”, was supposedly due in March – BUT a subcontractor showed up in February, wielding chainsaws for “essential preparation”. This seemed to include “removal of all trees back to the fence line”. The message about environmental conservation had been completely lost or conveniently forgotten somewhere…..
There is such an instrument as the GLOUCESTERSHIRE CONSERVATION ROAD VERGES SITE REGISTER. This should ensure that “Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) coordinate efforts to identify and protect verges only of significant wildlife including community value in the County. By working together, activities are ongoing to ensure that these verges receive appropriate conservation management as part of highways maintenance and related schemes”
Our roundabout and its verges are on this register, designated as CRV009. Articles in ECN over the years (notably based on the work of Val Taylor) have highlighted the richness of this very special little habitat and the rare wild flowers and insects found there. It is a special place, and the contractors have now been made aware of their duty of care under this recognised protection. See previous ECN article online at this link:-