Why didn’t you say something earlier? Cowley villagers pile in late to the A419 debate

By Ian Mean Business West Gloucestershire director
A419 Missing Link shot

For the last 20 years I have been writing about the need to help business by sorting out the so called “missing link” on the A417.

We seem to be on the last lap of the race now but suddenly a group of villagers at Cowley are now protesting about the scheme.

They have the absolute right to do that, of course, but I fail to see how a village more than a kilometre away from the new road will really be affected by the traffic noise.

Indeed, the regulations say that a major road like this only needs to be 300 yards away.

A419 Missing Link work could begin in early 2023

I am told that the proposed noise level of the road is under one decibel- you need a three decibel level to be perceptible.

So, why after all this time and government sanctioning £440 million for the scheme are some of  these villagers trying to change it?

It makes no sense at all to business who believe that the nightmare of the Crickey Hill section of the road loses them millions of pounds a year in lost time.

And, of course, this is a terrible road for loss of life and injury.

Despite this last minute protest, Highways England are trying to accomodate the protestors who want planners to revert to a different scheme—Pro Option 12 instead of the current Pro Option 30.

That Option 12 scheme was developed in the 2000s.

As I write this, Highways England have been answering 275 questions from the government’s Planning Inspectorate by yesterday-December 14.

A Development Consent Order has been sent to government which will take six months.

So, unless the protestors delay the decision, we are looking at a final OK from the transport ministry next October with spades in the ground-hopefully- in February 2023.

Highways England have started tendering for the road and that decision will be in January.

With the A417 money and the news that £249 million for Junction 10 has now been sanctioned by government, Gloucestershire will be benefitting to the tune of something like £700million on its highways.

That’s good news for the county’s growing economy.