Southmead residents living along Doncaster Road are celebrating success this week as a long-held community desire to get safe crossing points across a busy road and repairs to the poor quality concrete road surface have finally arrived. Funding from Henbury, Brentry and Southmead Neighbourhood Partnership has enabled the City Council to install two new crossings, break up the concrete road and put down a new surface.
Councillor Brenda Massey explained ‘Local residents were having awful problems tripping up on the broken concrete surface and also the noise it made as well. It’s a dangerous bit of road because we’ve got the Ranch Adventure Playground in one part of it, we’ve got Badock’s Wood School at the other end and there was nowhere safe for the children and parents to cross the road.’
Rita Rugman, who lives along Doncaster Road and works as a dinner supervisor at Badocks Wood School, decided to take action. She went along to the Southmead Neighbourhood Forum to ask the Neighbourhood Partnership to act. ‘It’s important to me because of the children’s safety and the parents getting to school. I just kept fighting and nagging the Councillors and Partnership. It took about 3 years but we got there in the end. I never give up!’
Rita first contacted Southmead’s long-serving Councillor, Jenny Smith, who encouraged her to create a petition – but also to approach the Neighbourhood Partnership to fund the improvements residents wanted.
Ian Thornley is also a Southmead resident and chairs the local Neighbourhood Forum. ‘She persuaded us in the Forum that it was an important thing to do. We took that up to the Neighbourhood Partnership and agreed to spend some of the Partnership’s Highways money on the two new crossings. It’s been in a queue waiting its turn to be delivered.
We’d also been pushing the Council to improve the really bad road surfaces of the concrete roads in Southmead – Doncaster Road being one of the worst. So Highways agreed to sort the bad road surface at the same time as they put in the new crossings.’
The benefits to residents have been immediate: ‘When you try to sleep at night it doesn’t sound like you’ve got a bus in your living room!’, Rita confirmed. ‘When the traffic used to drive past it was like the floor was moving. And people used to fall off their bikes because of potholes in the road. It’s so much better and it looks better, as well.’
The next Neighbourhood Forums in Southmead are:
Thursday 10th Nov, 6.30pm-8.30pm at the URC, Wigton Crescent, Southmead
Thursday 2nd March, 6.30pm – 8.30pm, venue to be confirmed