CORNWALL Council has supported plans for the Church Square improvements in Bodmin and looks set to dismiss the contentious plan to construct a new road through Priory Park.
After it was revealed that 69 percent of the 281 people who responded to a consultation survey were in favour of the Church Square option over the Priory Link Road, Cornwall Council Planning Delivery Group Leader Matthew Brown recommended that the authority select it as the preferred scheme.
Councillors discussed the Bodmin Town Framework at its environment, heritage and planning portfolio advisory committee meeting on Friday, where all four of Bodmin’s Cornwall councillors agreed to accept the recommendation.
The authority also dismissed requests from Bodmin Town Council and the business-led organisation Better Bodmin for alternatives to be considered, stating that other solutions have already been discounted.
Bodmin Town Council said it doesn’t feel either of the options are long-term solutions to the town’s transportation concerns and would like examinations of alternatives, and Better Bodmin considers the Church Square option a “stop-gap”.
Despite these concerns Mr Brown said “both options would deliver growth” to Bodmin and is disappointed at the request for further alternatives to be considered.
“We are going to go against that request, because we were aware of other options and we did consider them, so we are disappointed they were mentioned.”
Andrew Archer, Transport Planning Senior Engineer at Cormac Solutions, said the Priory link road is “the best technical solution”, but accepts that the Church Square option would improve the town centre and accommodate growth.
“The Church Square option is not ideal but solves most of the problems,” he said.
“Contrary to what has been said other solutions were discussed in great detail; we’ve discounted them and demonstrated why we’ve discounted them.”
Although the total number of people who opted for the Church Square option only represents roughly 1.34 percent of Bodmin’s population, Cornwall councillor for Bodmin St Petroc Steve Rogerson said that statistics show “it was a good turnout”.
“The real representation of people against the link road came in the form of 500 marching protestors early last year and the petition, which received more than 2,000 signatures,” Mr Rogerson said.
“Those people made their feelings known there and then, they didn’t need to come back and fill out the survey. I have also been told that, statistically, as far as surveys go, the response was actually very good.”
Mr Rogerson believes that now a decision has been made, the town needs to unite and “grasp the optimism”.
“The funding is there, the money is available to the towns that want it, and we want it. The people have spoken and now we must unite and go forward.”
Mr Rogerson’s wife Pat, Cornwall councillor for Bodmin St Leonard, dismissed fears that the Prior link road is the only solution to the town’s transportation problems.
“I think there has been a little bit of scaremongering that if we don’t accept the Priory link road, then there will be no growth in the town, but that is clearly not the case,” she said.