Tories welcome new Brook Way crossing but Lib Dems claim the credit

Jon Williams

Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Williams has slammed the Conservatives for, he says, wrongly claiming credit over the approval of a new pedestrian crossing on Brook Way.

The row follows a campaign by parents of children at Wheatfield Primary School, who said they found it dangerous  getting to the school from Saxon Way and other roads on the west side of Brook Way.

The issue was first raised at a meeting of the Bradley Stoke Safer and Stronger Group in February, where concerned parents complained of the difficulty of crossing Brook Way near the mini-roundabout junction with Wheatfield Drive.

Parents also pointed out that the central refuge at existing crossings were too narrow to accommodate pushchairs and that there were no school warning signs on Brook Way.

Cllr Mark Forsyth (Conservative) shocked the meeting when he suggested that the parents might like to “buy some fluorescent jackets and act as lollipop persons”.

A more constructive response came from Cllr Williams, who offered to work with the parents to see if the school’s Travel Plan could be updated with a view to attracting funding for a new crossing.

Cllr Williams says he subsequently spoke to the school, attended the school’s Travel Plan Committee, arranged for a Highways officer to attend, and encouraged the school to resubmit its Travel Plan.

Plans for a new ‘raised table’ crossing were then put forward to the Southern Brooks Area Forum meeting earlier this month, where the parents and Cllr Williams were succesful in obtaining approval for the estimated £20,000 cost.

But a press release put out after the meeting by South Gloucestershire Conservatives – subtitled “Councillors welcome moves to encourage safer route to school” – has angered Cllr Williams, who says the Tories “do nothing and then claim the credit”.

Cllr Williams told The Journal:

“It appears that the Conservatives are rewriting history again. This time they are claiming credit for getting a new, safer, crossing across Brook Way between Courtlands and Wheatfield Drive. The truth is that it was parents at the school and the school’s Travel Plan Committee who should take the credit.”

“Not once did a Conservative councillor make contact with the school or the parents over this matter and the only thing they did to support the scheme was to vote in favour of Cllr Williams’ proposal to proceed with the scheme at last week’s Area Forum meeting.”

“I’m disgusted that these two councillors have the cheek to claim credit for this crossing. I was the only councillor to support these parents and publicise their plight. I attended two Travel Plan meetings at the school and made sure that officers correctly described the scheme in the paperwork to the Forum last week, so that councillors present were able to make an informed choice.”

“I’m sure local residents will realise before long that it’s the Liberal Democrats that get things done and not the Conservatives, despite their Press releases.”

The new crossing will be installed during the 2010/2011 financial year.

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  1. Of course Wheatfield school parents and staff are to be commended for their roles in building support for an safer Brook Way crossing, but Cllrs Hopkinson and Pomfret have had regular discussions with myself and the department about how to improve road safety in the area and so it is nasty and just plain wrong for Liberal Democrat councillors to suggest otherwise.

    Cllr Williams’ pram is increasingly lacking toys just as his Liberal Democrat Party’s transport record in Bradley Stoke lacks any real success.

    The visible effects on Bradley Stoke of 10 years of a Liberal Democrat-run Council transport department can be summed up in two words ‘speed’ and ‘hump’ – which anyone will tell you do not offer the same advantages to pedestrians as the Brook Way speed table, which will now be installed thanks to the Conservative councillors who make up the majority on the Area Forum.

  2. It’s interesting to see Cllr Allinson’s comments. Again the Tory view of history appears to change reality. The Liberal Democrats were only in control of South Glos Council for 4 years from 1999 to 2003 (when the swimming pool was built and the secondary school approved), all the other occasions there was a balanced council with no party being in control. I don’t remember Tory shouts of “no speed humps” ringing around the council chamber.

    Unfortunately, Cllr Allinson’s time as the Executive Member for Transport will no doubt be remembered for backing a bus which doesn’t goes to The Mall and not getting a Park & Ride at Parkway Station so the residents of Stoke Gifford can once again park outside their own homes.

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