The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

A417 Missing Link

Received 01 September 2021
From Pascale Gysi


I very strongly oppose Option 30 for this scheme and my reasons are as follows: 1) Increase of Noise – we can already hear the current A417 which runs to the south of our house. The new proposed road will bring the road a lot closer to our house and as a dual carriageway on both that side and to the west of our house, therefore from two directions. Despite the deployment of quiet road surfaces the noise level will increase significantly and will have an impact on our lives and we believe the valuation of our house. The current A417 was built some twenty years ago and the Birdlip residents have been complaining about noise and air pollution levels ever since. Shifting the road towards Cowley in a larger format is just transferring the problem on to the village of Cowley, which cannot be the right solution. 2) Environmental Impact / AOB / Nature England and Cotswolds National Parkland plans- I believe option 30 is the worst possible route for the environment and the village of Cowley which sits in an AOB. Cutting down trees and destroying grassland in an AOB, when we have stated government policy to invest and plant more trees to reduce carbon dioxide is contradictory and in contravention to the 2015 Conservative manifesto. The proposed scheme will result in a net loss of wildlife habitat. This surely comes at a time when the importance of nature and outdoor green spaces has become more important and more precious than ever, it is essential that the scheme avoids increased impact on the most sensitive wildlife habitat. Furthermore Nature England wants to turn the Cotswolds into a National Parkland – this surely would contradict the new road proposal. 3) Unfair representation of Cowley village interest I do not, alongside other villagers at Cowley believe that our interests have been at all fairly represented and therefore considered by Highways England in the consultative process. We have a joint Parish council with Birdlip and for reasons stated above (in Point 1) this naturally presents a huge conflict of interest issue. 4) The disruption to Cowley village life during the construction phase which is likely to last for at least four years is huge. I don’t agree that the transition from the existing road to the new one will be as smooth and seamless as presented in the plans. These projects always tend to over-run in costs and timing, especially in the current environment /post Brexit where there are huge supply chain constraints. I do strongly believe that the construction and other traffic will use the already very narrow and fragile/ broken roads in the village and it will result in totally destroying the peace in the village. Our family moved out of town many years ago to live in a peaceful village and this will now be destroyed! 5) Unbalanced and not fully considered solution I fully understand that a solution to the current A417 is necessary but it needs to be much more balanced and considered. As an alternative, an extension of the current road into a dual carriageway would not be as disruptive to the local environment and habitat / AOB. There is ample room on either side of the footprint of the current road. With a section of tunnel past the village of Birdlip, so as to address noise and pollution issues for those residents. The accident blackspots, namely the crossing at Birdlip can be controlled using traffic lights and the approach to the Air Balloon roundabout broadened out and converted to a safer junction. The inability for traffic to flow faster due to the curvature of the existing road is not a valid reason for not considering this option. The priority here should be to keep the traffic free flowing to alleviate the current congestion that is caused approaching the Air balloon round about and making that stretch safer. It is worth noting that despite this being identified as a black spot, no serious attempts have been made to warn the oncoming traffic, for example through the use of signage and road markings along the existing road. 6) Devaluation of property values in Cowley village. Evidence of this has already started to emerge from our interactions with established estate agents in the area. We have written confirmation of this. 7) No increase in economy I strongly disagree that having a dual carriageway for this short 3.4 mile stretch will add to the economy of the region. Traffic projections for road projects tend to over-shoot in order to fit financing models as evident by real world examples such as the M6 Toll (financially restructured due to 50% of the actual traffic vs original traffic assumptions). While I acknowledge that this is a publicly funded project the same issues apply on the modelling assumptions. 8) Destroying Stockwell Farm and livelihoods of farm workers Contrary to adding to the economy of the area, the construction of the road is in fact impacting Stockwell farm and the lives of Stockwell farm workers severely who as we understand it are strongly opposed to the current scheme. Also, the village of Cowley is the location of Cowley Manor, a grade II listed historical building converted into a hotel which attracts visitors from far and wide to the area. The noise increase of the new road will deter many visitors wanting to come to Cowley Manor Hotel. 9) Contradiction to Paris Accord and environmental protection targets The construction of this road which aims to bring more and faster flowing traffic to the area in a time where extreme climate conditions are plaguing the world over is not going to take the nation any closer to its Paris Accord or any other environmental protection targets. Pascale Gysi [Redacted]