RUSH-hour traffic was reduced to a crawl on Ashlawn Road by opponents of a proposed housing estate, to illustrate the congestion they believe will be caused if the development is approved.
Members of Stop Ashlawn Road Development (SARD) continually activated a pedestrian crossing between 8-9am on Monday morning, causing tailbacks on Dunchurch Road as far back as Goldsmith Avenue.
It was in protest against a plan by David Wilson Homes and Barratt Homes, first announced in January, to build 860 homes, a new primary school and associated infrastructure on land between the Rokeby estate and Ashlawn Road, near the prominent water tower.
SARD says the proposals – which include a roundabout, a t-junction and six extra sets of traffic lights being added to Ashlawn Road – will cause long delays.
Bill Lewis, chairman of the protest group and Lib Dem ward councillor for Rokeby and Overslade, said the protest illustrated to drivers what the problems could be if the development goes ahead.
“It caused the kind of jam that we’d expect once the estate is built.” he said. “They’ll be loads of cars coming out of the estate, so it’s going to increase the traffic on Ashlawn Road quite considerably.
“The report that’s gone in to the council says it won’t be significant, but we don’t believe that at all. That road is really heavily used in the mornings.”
He apologised for delaying morning commuters – saying it was the only way to demonstrate SARD’s concerns – but added that he had received messages of support from some of the drivers affected.
More support for SARD emerged on social media websites.
Louise Pick described the congestion as ‘an eye-opener’, suggesting the plans need to be re-thought, while Claire Kelly said the protest had proved the extra traffic would have an adverse affect.
However, other commenters hit out at the activists, calling the protest childish and unrealistic, and claiming they caused more congestion than would be created by the new estate.
Peter Hinitt described the protest as a failure, adding: “There is no way all people are going to cross the road all at the same time, or leave in cars all at the same time.
“A few people causing unnecessary problems for the very people you will need support from is inverse logic, which will only inflame people’s attitudes against your movement not the council or builders.”
To read more about the plans, visit www.planningportal.rugby.gov.uk and search for application number R13/2102.