Yellow line proposals supported by the Town Council for Frees Avenue and The Green
Whilst Red Lines may be dominating current discussions in the House of Commons as it struggles with the debate over Brexit, the colour of the lines that dominated discussion at last night's (14 January) Planning Committee meeting of the Town Council were of an altogether different hue - Yellow.
There is a deadline of 31 January for recommendations for 'yellow lining' to be submitted to Wiltshire Council and the committee voted to support two proposals - one for the addition of double yellow lines between the Hyde Lane and Cemetery entrance in Frees Avenue, and the other on the Eastern boundary road of The Green, to enable emergency vehicle access to properties in that area of the Green (particularly to No10).
The Frees Avenue proposal was in support of a request from the Rugby Club, particularly to help the safety of the many junior players who will be changing in the club house to the West of Frees Avenue but will need to cross this stretch of road to reach the pitches to train and play.
In 2009 there was an incident where a child was knocked down and seriously injured crossing Frees Avenue, something that reinforced the need for safety. And whilst arrangements had been in place for a volunteer to manage the crossing of the road by young players on the Sunday mornings when the junior teams take over The Common, the success of the club in appealing to many more young players combined with the over-reliance on a very small number of volunteers for this critical role led to the need for some alternative solution. Stopping parking across this stretch of road will mean that visibility is clear - drivers can see those crossing and those crossing can see the cars - thus reducing the chance of accident.
The Town Council expressed near-unanimous support for this proposal, with just one voice of dissent - from Councillor, Cllr Forbes, who argued that this was an issue that "they (the Rugby Club) should be solving on their own". He argued that this "really only affects them and not the town as a whole" and that this was not the sort of issue that the Town Council should be considering when there were plenty of other traffic issues that "affect the town and not just a single private organisation".
Cllr Northeast articulated a very different message, one that reflected other Councillor's opinions: "That although the Rugby Club is a private organisation it's still the town's young people so we need to do whatever we can to protect them because we can't put a price on that".
The committee voted unanimously to put this proposal forward - bar one - Cllr Forbes.
The proposal for yellow lines to be drawn on the road at the Eastern edge of The Green was also prompted by an incident involving injury. In December 2017 there was a fire at No10 The Green which resulted in two elderly residents being hospitalised for smoke inhalation.
The problem wasn't caused by the speed of response by the Fire Service - they were there within minutes, but it took the fire engine more than half an hour to get past all the parked cars into a position where the fire could be dealt with, and it was this delay that enabled the fire to get hold and cause injury and real threat to the elderly residents.
Vanessa Gibbs from the Marlborough & District Housing Association who own and administer the sixteen self-contained sheltered accommodation flats comprising the No10 property described the problem of access in the opening 'Public Questions' session at the start of the meeting and again during suspension of standing orders during the debate, relating the experience of December 2017, and asked the Councillors for support to make emergency access to this area of The Green possible.
After extensive discussion covering a range of possible solutions, it was proposed (and accepted by majority decision) to put forward the addition of double yellow lines to both sides of the Eastern road that borders The Green, whilst extending the existing double yellow lines to cover the area directly opposite the access area to the No10 off street parking area.