Glastonbury & Street Green Party

Archive for Lighten the Load

A361 Campaign Update

The improvement of traffic conditions on the A361 has been a priority for the Greens in Glastonbury, including sending out a Speedwatch team to check traffic speeds and engaging the services of Campaign to Protect Rural England in an HGV survey, a process which is on-going.

Green Councillor Lindsay McDougall – who has been closely involved with the campaign which calls on Somerset County Council Highways Department to reclassify the A361 through Glastonbury, imposing a maximum weight limit of 7.5T, and removing its freight route designation – said recently, “We are campaigning for a zebra-crossing in Chilkwell Street and received a site visit from Somerset County Highways…  without a positive result, therefore, Glastonbury Town Council attempted to go to the Ombudsman on this matter.  Unfortunately, the Ombudsman have turned down the request, as they don’t deal with councils…

Cllr. MacDougall confirmed that testing for NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide gas) is going ahead in Chilkwell Street: “The Town Council is now ordering five £10 NO2 kits from cleanairuk.org to test the air quality along the road.”

“Mendip have tested air quality at the Rural Life Museum roundabout at the top of Bere Lane, but the air quality is potentially worse where the buildings are close to the road on both sides and provide a ‘canyon-like’ effect – where the fumes cannot disperse so readily. This is a recognised environmental effect on roads, and that’s why we feel Glastonbury Town Council should conduct our own tests.”

Mendip currently claim the air quality is within legal limits, which is questionable, particularly in these places – at the Rifleman’s pub and then around where the new houses were built right next to the road!

In the meantime, Glastonbury’s Green Councillors have been informed that – in the search for long-term solution to the congestion on the A361 – the Department of Transport are currently in discussions about undertaking a feasibility study for an up-grade of the road system across mid-Somerset!

Watch this space!

The Glastonbury GREEN – By-election Special !

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#VOTEPAUL2016

Natalie’s visit to Glastonbury [part three]

Natalie Bennett’s visit to Glastonbury on 26th January, saw the Green Party leader meeting with members of the Last Bank Standing Campaign; listening to residents on Chilkwell Street and Cottle Close – to learn more about ‘Lighten the Load A361’; she also found time to meet some of Glastonbury’s Green Town Councillors, and to visit West Mendip Green Party members and supporters with Paul Lund – the Green Party Candidate in the Glastonbury St. Mary’s By-election (on 11th February).

At Glastonbury Town Hall, Natalie was delighted to meet with Glastonbury’s Green Mayor, Cllr Denise Michell, and Green Deputy Mayor, Cllr Jon Cousins in the historic Council Chamber.

Green Mayor, Green Deputy Mayor, and Green Party Leader by Ewan Jones

Green Mayor, Green Deputy Mayor, and Green Party Leader in Glastonbury’s Council Chamber. Photo by Ewan Jones

With the Greens holding minority-control of the Council, Natalie was very interested in the potential of Paul Lund’s election as an eighth Green Councillor (which would give the Greens a working majority), and she talked with Paul about the work he currently does as Deputy Chair of the Council’s Promoting Glastonbury Committee (Paul is the first non-councillor to hold such a position in the Council).

Natalie was also keen to hear about Paul’s pioneering work as the author of the town’s ‘Charter for the Environment’, which was adopted in 2012.

Paul Lund shows Natalie Bennett Glastonbury’s ‘Charter for the Environment’. Photo by Gabriel Avalon

Paul Lund shows Natalie Bennett Glastonbury’s ‘Charter for the Environment’ in Glastonbury Town Hall. Photo by Gabriel Avalon

In the afternoon Natalie and Paul visited Green Party members and supporters on the Redlands Estate, listening to their concerns and thoughts about the future of Glastonbury the A361 petition, the Green’s success at banning the use of the toxic herbicide glyphosate; protecting the town’s green spaces, the renewing of Glastonbury’s Fairtrade Town status, the new Green-led Neighbourhood Plan, and of course the loss of the banks.

Photos by Laura Zaky and Gabriel Avalon.

Photos by Laura Zaky and Gabriel Avalon.

Paul Lund, Green Candidate in the St. Mary’s By-election with Natalie in front of the Draper’s Factory mural. Photo by Gabriel Avalon.

Paul Lund, Green Candidate in the St. Mary’s By-election with Natalie in front of the Draper’s Factory mural. Photo by Gabriel Avalon.

Reflecting on her visit, Natalie said that the threatened closure of the town’s last two banks gave “One more example of our financial sector failing to meet the needs of communities; threatening businesses through lack of access to cash and lost custom.”

To support the Last Bank Standing Campaign, please click HERE.

Natalie’s visit to Glastonbury [part one]

Natalie’s visit to Glastonbury [part two]

Natalie’s visit to Glastonbury [part two]

When Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett visited Glastonbury on 26th January, not only did she meet with the Last Bank Standing Campaign, but she also wanted to learn more about ‘Lighten the Load A361’; to hear from residents about the impact of heavy traffic on their lives, and to witness the situation first-hand.

As a result of Green Councillors’ involvement with Lighten the Load – and the creation of the Town Council’s A361 Committee – Natalie was familiar with the petition to remove Glastonbury from the Freight Network; to stop HGVs from travelling through the town.

Natalie discovers just how dangerous the A361 really is! Photo by Denise Michell

Natalie Bennett discovers just how dangerous the A361 really is! Photo by Denise Michell

From reading reports by Glastonbury’s Green Cllr Lindsay MacDougall, Natalie already understood something of the problems facing local residents who live along the A361.  However, she welcomed the opportunity to experience the situation in person – and was visibly shocked at the close proximity of the traffic to pedestrians, the lack of safe crossing places, and the narrow width of the road as it squeezes through Chilkwell Street by Chalice Well.

Natalie Bennett and local Green Candidate Paul Lund witness the impact of HGVs along Chilkwell Street. Photo by Gabriel Avalon

Natalie and local Green Candidate Paul Lund witness the impact of HGVs along Chilkwell Street. Photo by Gabriel Avalon

Natalie listened in amazement to hear that Somerset County Council will not fund traffic surveys, decibel, pollution, and vibration testing for Glastonbury!  She was also surprised to hear that the County’s Highway department have repeatedly failed to meet with Glastonbury Town Council to discuss the issues!

She was deeply concerned to meet a family with young children whose front door opened directly onto the road’s edge – the danger being obvious.

Paul Lund, Glastonbury’s Green Candidate for the forthcoming St. Mary’s By-election, told Natalie that the A361 campaign was a priority issue for the ward. “Young families who live on the A361 – like those we’ve met at Cottle Close – deserve better from the County Council, who appear to consider the needs of HGVs above those of local people!  The Glastonbury Greens fully support Lighten the Load; and we’ll try every opportunity open to us to make this road safe for those who live on it!

meet a family with young children whose front door opened directly onto the road’s edge

Natalie and Paul Lund meet a family with young children whose front door opens directly onto the road’s edge!

More photos from Natalie's visit. Clockwise from the top left: Visiting Cottle Close [photo by Gabriel Avalon]; Watching traffic on Chilkwell Street [photo by Denise Michell]; Talking with local residents [photo by Laura Zaky]; Another HGV on Chilkwell Street! [photo by Gabriel Avalon].

More photos from Natalie’s visit. Clockwise from the top left: Visiting Cottle Close with Paul Lund and Deputy Mayor Cllr Jon Cousins [photo by Gabriel Avalon]; Watching traffic on Chilkwell Street [photo by Denise Michell]; Talking with local residents on the High Street [photo by Laura Zaky]; Yet another HGV on Chilkwell Street! [photo by Gabriel Avalon]

Natalie’s visit to Glastonbury [part one]

Natalie’s visit to Glastonbury [part three]

Lighten the Load A361

Up-date from Green Councillor Lindsay MacDougall:

Glastonbury’s Green Councillors fully support the Lighten the Load campaign – please add your signature to petition HERE.

Lindsay MacDougall, one of our new Green Town Councillors – who lives on the route – has been involved in the Lighten the Load A361 campaign since the beginning of the year.  She writes …

“We have been tirelessly tramping the streets gathering signatures for the petition asking Highways to divert HGVs from the A361, with over 6000 people now having signed (combining paper and on-line petitions).

“However, recognising that there is as yet no obvious magic bullet to the question ‘Where do the HGVs go?’, we have looked at this with a variety of tactics.

“In the summer I approached the full gamut of local and national road action groups and we now have the support of a number of these bodies to help us achieve a 20mph zone throughout the town, which will at least improve safety and noise levels.

“The next step will be to conduct a community-wide survey to garner support. The success of this venture depends very much on vocal and visible support, so please do sign all the various petitions, paper copies of the ‘Divert HGVs’ petition may be found at a number of locations around town, including Earthfare (the health food shop), the Red Brick Building, and outside no.69 Bere Lane.  Alternatively, you can sign the on-line Change.org version HERE.

“Letters to the ‘horse’s mouth’ can be very effective; please write to:
David Fothergill, Highways Officer at Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset. TA1 4DY
e-mail: DJAFothergill@somerset.gov.uk

“For specific incidents, log your accounts with our local Highways Office:
Mendip Area Highways Office, Wells Road, Glastonbury, Somerset. BA6 9AS
e-mail: countyroads-mendip@somerset.gov.uk

“Local press and media continue to champion our cause with regular coverage, and in September our MP finally came to see the A361 route through Glastonbury in person. However, not much sympathy there, with vague promises of a new north-south road development across Somerset in the distant future, dependent upon economic need, and suggestions of a bypass paid for by sacrificing currently protected countryside around the Tor to housing estates. In other words, the usual message that ‘no money is available’.

“In November we handed to our County Councillor an A361 residents’ petition to install a Zebra-crossing in Chilkwell Street to provide pedestrians from the Drapers’ carpark and residents with a safe crossing point; we are yet to receive any concrete response from County.

“Residents and campaigners are presently continuing with their own vehicle counts in order to challenge County Highways’ figures. Times and locations for such surveys are crucial, since vehicle numbers, data around pollution and noise and accident reports seem to be out of kilter with the lived experience of pedestrians, residents, and other road users.

“In the New Year we will be presenting a further petition to the town to demonstrate support for a 20mph zone throughout the residential areas of Glastonbury including the A361 through town.

“And finally, please do attend the monthly full Town Council meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. Our County Councillors, local police, and other influential people should be made aware in a public forum of the strength of feeling. If you would like advice on how to present the issues you wish to highlight do contact me:
e-mail: lindsay@macdougall8.wanadoo.co.uk
Telephone: 07582 599 049
I look forward to seeing you there!”

If you would like to contact Lighten the Load direct, please email: solutions@lightentheloadglastonbury.co.uk

 

Lighten the Load A361

Glastonbury’s Green Councillors fully support the Lighten the Load campaign – please add your signature to petition HERE.

Recent petition update:
Happy New Year from Glastonbury! Finally a long awaited update from Lighten the Load A361. [3 Jan 2016]

Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Well are now in the top 5 on Tripadvisor, out of 383 attractions in Somerset! Both attractions are accessed from the perilously narrow A361.  But Somerset County Council refuses to re-route HGVs from Glastonbury’s Tourist Trail.

It is not too late to: SHARE THIS PETITION and COMPLAIN TO THE COUNCIL using the link below.

Please read on.

As I write, the ever increasing HGV traffic is shattering the peace of this ancient place of pilgrimage, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands walking the narrow pavements. We continue to suffer broken sleep, stress and pollution while we watch accommodation businesses fold.

Complaints are vital, not least because County has recently claimed that – traffic has NOT increased – in spite of all experience to the contrary! – they will NOT fund traffic surveys, decibel, pollution and vibration testing for Glastonbury. The leaders of Highways have repeatedly failed to meet with Glastonbury Town Council.  With cramped fingers they hold on to the status quo, praying we will give up and go away.

Remember your last walk along the A361 for the Tor footpath with your friends/family/small children/dog on lead. Recall the thunder, the fumes, the high pitched noise of HGV engines, the lack of safe crossing places, the proximity of the traffic to your body on that 2 foot pavement.  The sleepless nights in homes or B&Bs along this route…  Recall trying to engage in ‘quiet reflection’ at the Chalice Well Gardens, ‘World Peace Gardens’ (alas not so peaceful).

Click on the link, scroll down to ‘Complaints’ and tell SCC about your experience – request they re-route HGVs away from Glastonbury’s Tourist Trail.

WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WORK THIS HARD ON SOMETHING SO OBVIOUS. SHAME ON COUNTY AND HIGHWAYS OFFICIALS FOR THE DISRESPECT THEY SHOW GLASTONBURY. Please help by posting your complaint today. Thank you so much for your time!

N.B We now have 6000+ combined paper and online signatures.  The A361 committee (set up by the Town Council in response to this campaign) has been working away quietly, building our case in support of the petition.  Date of petition handover to Somerset County still TBC

https://www.change.org/p/somerset-county-council-remove-glastonbury-from-the-freight-network?recruiter=42104583&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=cop

If you would like to contact Lighten the Load, please email: solutions@lightentheloadglastonbury.co.uk