HOMEOWNERS in Abbeymead are baffled by a £2million bus scheme they claim is not necessary.
Gloucestershire County Council is looking at creating two new bus lanes in Abbeymead Avenue.
When planning consent was granted for the Cooper’s Edge development near Brockworth the council asked the developers to put in bus lanes on Abbeymead Avenue and Metz Way but it was not completed.
City councillor Phil McLellan (LD, Barnwood) said: “I had an understanding with the highways management that the county council would seek a financial contribution and would be consulted on what should be done. I only learned recently, by chance, that the council has resurrected the bus priority scheme and is seeking Government funding to see it introduced. It is ranked number four on the list of schemes in the county, ahead of renewing Gloucester Bus Station. I don’t believe it is sensible to introduce a bus priority scheme in Abbeymead without a lot more consultation.”
The county council said the bus lane and bus station bids are in fact linked, but Abbeymead residents think the scheme for their area is a waste of money.
The purpose of the new bus route is to facilitate sustainable development at Cooper’s Edge by improving journey times for the existing service between Gloucester and Upton-St-Leonards.
Jackie Stroud, from The Oaks in Abbeymead, said: “I have heard that the scheme is meant to encourage people to not drive but use the buses. But I really think the money could be better spent on improving the park and ride for example. I think women would much prefer to park here because it is a safer environment. Not everyone goes home straight after work, people need to use their cars to go shopping or meet friends. It would be good to see the money spent on the bus station too, it is ugly and the building is stuck in post war era. I have lived in Abbeymead since 1996, it is very quiet and you only get the odd retired person using the bus during the daytime. If they fit the bus lane in, it will mean making the road four lanes.”
Councillor Will Windsor Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “We wanted to make sure the Metz Way bus lane bid didn’t interfere with plans for Gloucester Bus Station. That’s why we’ve linked our bids for the two projects together, as part of a package to improve bus travel in Gloucester. That way the bus station bid will get funding and we can still access developer funding for improvements elsewhere in the city. The final decision will be made by the independent Gloucestershire Local Transport Board when they meet on April 9 to allocate £3.3millon.”