Churchdown residents hit out at £14m Elmbridge Plans

Anger is brewing in Churchdown over plans for a new multi-million pound 1,000-space park and ride development at Elmbridge Court.

The parish council there is determined to halt further moves towards completion of the £14million project until more thought is given to how residents will be impacted.

Many claim the facility is a waste of money and will be of no benefit to those living in Churchdown. They are calling for traffic lights to be introduced to the plan to stop congestion along Cheltenham Road East. There is also concern over the impact on wildlife in the area. Ancient oaks are to be felled to make way, along with hedgerows and standing deadwood seen as an excellent habitat for wildlife.

Although a replanting scheme is planned, councillors in Churchdown insist it is well short of what is required to maintain the natural habitat of the area.

Some are even calling for the Elmbridge scheme to be scrapped altogether and sited elsewhere, with Highnam thrown up as an alternative.

Bill Whelan, chairman of the parish council, said: “The residents are annoyed and feel that they have not been fully consulted over these plans.

“They are concerned there are issues with the Green Belt and they want it protected.”

In December 2011, the Department for Transport (DfT) awarded Gloucestershire County Council £14.1million towards the project. Major junction improvements would be made to the Elmbridge Court roundabout to allow it to cope more easily with traffic.

Highway project manager at the county council, Scott Macaulay-Lowe, said: “The objection will be looked at as part of the planning consultation process. We have carried out a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment and will be doing everything we can to avoid loss of important habitat. The highway works will significantly increase the capacity of Elmbridge Court roundabout and reduce traffic queues and delays for motorists. Our investigations found there was sufficient demand for a park and ride site and how many spaces are needed, as well as frequency of buses and prices.”