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Church Street – time for a rethink?

Traffic on Kings Street

Traffic on Kings Street

Changes need to be made to the Church Street junction, say local campaigners, as the ‘no right turn’ is causing traffic chaos in the town centre.

Campaigners say not being able to turn right into Church Street in the centre of town, causes a significant build up of traffic  in the Market Place and along both Spa Road and King Street.

Chair of Melksham Seniors’ 55+ Forum Brian Warwick said, “When Highways [Wiltshire County Council] altered the right turn on to Church Street from Lowbourne they ignored the likelihood of problems associated with traffic from the south of the town and along Spa Road, with all the traffic having to go round the Market Place roundabout.

“The situation is getting worse, yet Community Area Transport Group (CATG) and Highways continue to fail to provide a satisfactory solution. As Melksham continues to expand,  I don’t believe we can continue to ignore the problems that Highways have created.”

Chair of Melksham Area Community Safety Group Colin Goodhind said, “I too have raised this and to be honest, I feel the response from Highways has been disappointing to say the least.

“Anything that draws unnecessary traffic through the Market Place instead of simply turning right into Church Street is plain bonkers. Mark Stansby (who I know and respect) has said that a survey would be necessary and expensive but I have suggested, and suggest again, that Melksham Community Area Partnership (MCAP) could carry this out for significantly less than it would cost through Highways.

“I would have thought that a simple and brief study of vehicle behaviour between the Church Street junction and the Market Place would quickly prove that a way of allowing vehicles to turn right was preferable, not to mention more environmentally friendly, to forcing traffic to jam up the Market place and ajoining roads. If a delay of a few minutes is necessary to achieve this, then is that not a small price to pay?

“Melksham Community Area Partnership (MCAP), is most certainly going to take this up with the Town Council because access to the new Campus will be affected if changes are not made. The ‘No right turn’ into Church Street forces all traffic wanting to turn right into the town’s main car park to continue into the Market Place around the roundabout and back to the junction to turn left. The result of this unnecessary traffic around the Market Place is that traffic frequently backs up along Spa Road and King Street. Add to this the traffic entering the Campus and the Market Place will become a really unpleasant place to be let alone drive through.

“We are very keen to hear the views of local people, particularly those who live and work in the Market Place and its approach roads and who frequently use the Church Street car park.”

Miriam Zaccarelli,  deputy town clerk said, “The issue of the no right turn in Church Street was also raised at the Annual Town meeting on Monday, and cllr Hubbard explained that this has been looked in to by the Community Area Transport Group. They have found that there is no viable alternative as there is no space for a feeder lane there to allow traffic to turn right into Church Street, and a mini roundabout would be too small to allow for the necessary turning circle.

“There was a request to invite someone from Wiltshire Council highways to explain the reasons to councillors, so it will be discussed at a Melksham Town Council meeting soon.”