Diversion causes gridlock

Traffic problems at Newnham Trish Whitrow
Traffic problems at Newnham Trish Whitrow

A diversion put in place due to roadworks on the A361 brought the village of Newnham to a standstill this week.

The diversion sends traffic off the A361 and on to the B4037 through the centre of Newnham to then join the A45.

The village has many narrow and sharp bends and the combination of heavy traffic, including buses and HGVs, and the village road, has caused traffic chaos, especially at rush hour.

After an emergency meeting held yesterday morning between residents and the parish council, it was agreed an alternative diversion will be set up to send traffic off the A361 and onto the back roads to Staverton and then on to the A45.

Trish Whitrow is the village’s Speedwatch co-ordinator. She said: “The A361 roadworks started on Monday, and the traffic through the centre of Newnham has been terrible. On Tuesday morning we had a car parked on the zig-zag lines outside the school, and traffic coming up from the A361, and from the Preston Capes road, and none of it was giving way.

“I stepped into the road to try and direct the traffic. Most drivers could see what I was trying to do and said thank you, but this lorry would not stop I had to step out of its way.

“Whoever puts this diversion in place for the 10 days they’re closing the A361 didn’t think much about Newnham.

“We get people coming along the road at 30 to 60mph, when near the school it’s supposed to be 20mph. Some drivers don’t start slowing down from 60mph until they’re at the Romer Arms in the middle of the village.

“In the morning we have primary school-aged children, some of whom are too young to have any road sense, people with pushchairs and toddlers, on narrow pavements, with all this traffic passing at what is often unsafe speeds.

“We’ve not had a serious accident on this stretch thankfully, but that also means there’s little the council can do to solve the problem.

“To be honest, the situation has been an absolute fiasco.”

Claire Wall commented via Facebook: “The roads through Newnham were terrible on Tuesday. Those roads are not built for so much traffic and large vehicles. Newnham even came to a standstill due to the school traffic; no one could get through.

“Two coaches had to reverse onto the green. Another good bit of planning by the council. Why was it not done during half term?”