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Building a better Bodmin frequently asked questions

Here you can find the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Building a Better Bodmin scheme.

Background to the scheme

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What are you doing in Bodmin?

The 'Building a Better Bodmin' scheme is a series of road improvements in the centre of Bodmin, ranging from minor highway changes to new junctions. The project aims to improve traffic flows, make it safer for people walking and cycling in the area and provide a catalyst for the regeneration of the town centre.

The project is made up of 12 separate schemes, ranging from minor highway changes to new junctions. 

The most significant section of works will be at the area of Dennison Road, Church Square and Turf Street which will result in widened pavements, narrowed carriageways and new surfacing, including an attractive granite paved area at Church Square. 

A new roundabout will also be built at the Priory Road and Launceston Road junction to improve traffic flows and safety, including the movement and crossing of pedestrians and cyclists. There will be a new shared use routes through Priory Park linking to St Petroc’s School providing safe access for children walking and cycling to school.

Why do we need improvements to our highway network?

The number of road users is growing all the time and building 'more roads' is not always the answer. With studies showing that many car trips in Cornish towns are less than two miles, there is the opportunity for some of those journeys to be made on foot, by bike, or on public transport. This cuts congestion, helps improve air quality on previously congested roads and cycling and walking (whether that be for the bus or the whole journey) helps make us all that little bit healthier. But, we need to make it easier and safer for people to ditch the car for shorter journeys, which is one of the reasons for schemes like this one.

Why is everyone talking about this being a cycle scheme?

The project is about improving the road network around the town centre for many of groups of people - whether they be local residents, business owners or visitors.

Improving cycling infrastructure is one part of the scheme - with the Camel Trail, Cardinham Woods and Lanhydrock on its doorstep, Bodmin is surrounded by some of the most popular cycle routes in the country which are visited by more than 600,000 people each year.

The improvements to the cycle infrastructure will encourage more of these visitors into the town and boosting the local economy. Department for Transport studies have shown that for every £1 spent on cycling, the local economy can expect to see a return in the region of £4.

The Council didn’t consult on this scheme and most of Bodmin didn’t want it

As well as holding two very well attended public exhibitions - in 2013 and 2015 - we have also consulted with a host of groups, including local organisations such as Bodmin Town Council and surrounding parish councils, Better Bodmin, residents' associations and pressure groups, as well as emergency services, statutory undertakers (such as utility companies), local bus operators, disability groups, motorcycle and cycle groups, the AA, Road Haulage Association and Freight Transport Association.

Around 60% of people who attended the exhibition in 2015 were in favour of plans.

Is this a shared space scheme?

No - ‘Shared space’ schemes aim to minimise the segregation of pedestrians and vehicles, removing traffic management features such as kerbs, crossing points, road surface markings and traffic signs.

The 12 projects which make up the wider Building a better Bodmin scheme are various pieces of work which aim to improve provision for walkers and cyclists – some are off road shared use cycle and pedestrian routes (such as the path through Scarlett’s Well park), while others feature segregated paths for walkers, cyclists and motorists.

Following the public consultation in June 2015 and subsequent discussions with charities such as iSight Cornwall, disAbility Cornwall and Living Streets, we made significant changes to the design of the Building a better Bodmin scheme.

Dennison Road, Turf Street and Church Square in particular started out taking elements from the shared space concept, but as anyone who attended our exhibition earlier this year will have seen, now feature segregated footways and road space.

The needs of all road users and people with varying abilities has been carefully considered during the design process - to give one example, our engineers took to the streets blindfolded during an exercise with iSight Cornwall to gain a greater insight into the needs of people who are blind or partially sighted.

The colours and textures used on the roads and pavements are the direct result of the engagement with the charities - for example, there is strong contrast between colours at specific locations - such as yellow to identify crossing points - to help those who are partially sighted. Kerbing has been included as Guide Dogs are trained to respond to kerbs.

The environment along Dennison Road, Turf Street and Church Square will be perceived by motorists to be narrower due to the use of different road surface materials and the removal of centre line markings. This change in environment brings about lower vehicle speeds which enables the integration of pedestrians and cyclists and reduces the dominance of the motor vehicle.

The low speed environment on Dennison Road and Church Square does not have controlled crossing points, instead we have a series of raised crossing points which are clearly marked, both in colour and texture, and which will be very clear to drivers.

At the Turf Street / Fore Street / Priory Car Park junction (Mount Folly) the traffic signals are being removed as they were installed to manage traffic into and out of the car park along a single lane width section of road. Additional width is being provided on the car park access road which will facilitate two-way traffic. This removes the needs for the traffic signals. As with Dennison Road, pedestrians and cyclists will now cross the road at uncontrolled crossing points.

A low speed environment

The aim of the low speed environment is to encourage all road users to slow down and consider one another. During various consultations that took place in Bodmin over several years, one common theme emerged – people wanted motorists to slow down and they also wanted to feel safe when cycling or crossing the road. We know that from surveying traffic travelling along Dennison Road, motorists are slowing down.  When people need to cross the road, drivers are stopping and allowing them to do so without the need of instruction from traffic lights or pedestrian crossings.

The junction at Church square and Dennison Road, Berrycombe Road and Pool Street are not technically roundabouts, they are unmarked junctions and  we advocate that motorists do as they would at any other unmarked junction where no driver has signed priority over another – or any other time that they are behind the wheel for that matter - that they drive with due care and attention.

We will shortly be putting up signs to the entrances of the low speed environment – these are the sections of highway marked with red surfacing – to remind road users of their responsibility to drive carefully and of the need to consider others.

Early monitoring of the scheme shows that speeds have decreased by approximately 15%  along Dennison Road and traffic volumes have decreased by approximately 5% which demonstrate that the scheme is starting to bed in and is delivering positive outcomes.

How much does the scheme cost, who's paying for it and when will it be finished?

The cost of the project is around £7.5m, with funding coming from the Government's Growth Fund, the Local Transport Plan and S106 developer contributions. While different elements of the overall project will be finished at various times over the next 18 months, the overall project - specifically the Church Square, Dennison Road, Turf Street works - will be complete by Summer 2017.

Why not spend the money on toilets, GP surgeries, schools, cinemas, or a bowling alley?

The Growth Deal funding is only available for specific schemes (for example, improving infrastructure) and local authorities have to bid for it. It isn't available for private initiatives such as cinemas and bowling alleys.

How can I apply for business rate relief

If you believe your business has been affected by the construction of the Bodmin road scheme, your first port of call is the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA set the rateable value of premises – and can grant a temporary reduction when a business property is affected by severe local disruption (such as road works).

In making an application to the VOA, you will need to show how the road works have affected trade – and it is likely that you will need to provide financial evidence supporting this.

The Council will be able to consider claims for hardship relief once an appeal to the VOA has been determined. We are aiming to have regular sessions at our drop in centre in Bodmin with a Council officer who can give further advice – details will be available soon. In the meantime, if you are having difficulties in paying your business rate bill, please talk to us – we’re available on 0300 1234 171.

Find out more about business rates and reductions