In Part 1 of this little report I outlined what had occurred recently in the village and how it was reported – by myself and also the CN&M.
Last Thursday night saw the Local Area Committee meeting take place and my question was duly raised;
Q. Written question from Mr. Paul J. Chapman, Frimley Green.
“Given the traffic chaos witnessed in Frimley Green recently due to the temporary lights placed on the mini-roundabouts around the green that mimic the mitigation measures proposed for the PRB development, will the council promise to look again at the potential traffic problems and carry out their own investigations into the mitigations proposed, to prevent Frimley Green and nearby areas becoming gridlocked with traffic?”
The Council response was
A. Written response provided by Andy Stokes, Principal Transport Development Planning Officer on behalf of the Committee;
The Princess Royal Barracks Planning Application considered the likely impact of the development on the junctions of Wharf Road and Sturt Road on Frimley Green Road.
In order to adequately accommodate the development impact it is proposed that traffic signals be installed, replacing the existing roundabouts. The installation of permanent traffic signals at this location has been carefully considered by Surrey County Council, who is content that they can be satisfactorily accommodated.
Temporary traffic lights are often less efficient than a permanent installation which are carefully programmed to ensure that a maximum amount of ‘green time’ is available, and where safe to do so, allowing differing streams to negotiate the junction at the same time.
The County Council will not be carrying out its own investigations into the use of traffic signals at these junctions, it will however ensure at the appropriate time that the permanent signals are designed and installed to operate safely and as efficiently as possible.
In other words “Trust me, I’m a Town Planner – It’ll be alright on the night”.
In my counter response, I stated that while I realise these lights were not set perfectly, the queues along three of the four impacted roads were pretty even, suggesting that the timings were fairly well balanced and there was very little ‘red time’. I also pointed out that these lights did not allow for pedestrian crossings which will reduce ‘green time’, and that once PRB is built there will be a significant increase in traffic numbers – none of these arguments were acknowledged by the Committee.
Cllr Ivison (Chairman of the LAC) also took exception to my statement that the temporary lights mimicked the mitigation proposed by the developers, claiming that this was not the case. At this point Cllr Pitt (Surrey County Councillor for Frimley Green, Deepcut & Mytchett) joined the argument, stating clearly that the location of the lights was virtually identical to the plans put forward by the developers. He also voiced his concerns and cited a number of letters and calls that he’d had over the weekend and particularly on the Monday morning when the queues were considerably worse that I’d seen.
Further comment from the Committee stated that traffic modelling would be used to prove the plans and set the timing of the lights, so I requested the results of this modelling be made public to allay our fears – again this request wasn’t acknowledged by the Committee.
So, where does that leave us?
Well, at the moment with very few options, at least until the detailed planning process moves ahead and the questions of traffic are raised again. However, if you are worried by the prospect of permanent traffic lights in Frimley Green, I would recommend you write to your local County and Borough Councillors and express your concerns – it’s only by keeping this issue visible that we are likely to get more information on what is planned.
And of course if the traffic lights turn out to be a complete disaster for the area, we’ll all remember who enacted the scheme, won’t we.