West Street/Hight Street Junction

The High Street/West Street Junction Improvement

Background

Since 2019, Lacock Parish Council’s traffic sub group and Wiltshire Council Highways(WC) have been working on modifying the High Street/West Street Junction to improve safety for road users and pedestrians around this junction; and to deter traffic from speeding through the village. After public consultations last year, Covid delayed the start of the implementation until recently. Atkins, the WC Traffic Consultants, were commissioned by Lacock Parish Council (LPC) and Wiltshire Council in April 2021 to undertake a Lacock Traffic Study. This identified several traffic calming measures. Part of their recommendations also included changing the layout and signage of the junction of High Street and West Street as a first priority.

Why have these changes been proposed?

There are several concerns relating to this junction, mostly raised by villagers in the traffic survey conducted by the LPC but also identified by Atkins in their recent study. They include:
  • dangerous traffic prioritisation, which allows through traffic to speed across the junction. The existing road markings and layout give priority to vehicles emerging from the High Street, whereas the vast majority of vehicles are proceeding straight across the junction and along West Street, to and from Hither Way
  • additionally, a proportion of the visitor traffic heading south on West St follows the road round into the High St having not acknowledged the direction signs to the NT Car Park or Dead End signs.
    lack of adequate safe crossing points
  • inadequate lighting and poor signage
  • road markings at this junction are unchanged since before the gate was installed by the Abbey entrance, effectively turning High Street into a cul-de-sac.
  • volume of traffic through the village has and will continue to increase in future years as identified by Atkins.

What are the proposed changes and what will be their effect?

There is a schematic diagram (see LINK) that show the proposed changes, that are described below:

  • installation of a mini roundabout at the junction will correct the priorities and address some of the safety concerns;
  • the entire junction will become a raised area. Ramps on the approaches will encourage traffic to slow down. This combination is judged by the LPC and Wiltshire Council Highways to provide the most effective traffic calming measure and most appropriate for this junction;
  • the footway in front of the Porch House on the south side of the junction has been widened to produce a better line for traffic proceeding towards Melksham Road going south and those turning left out of the High Street; and
  • the footway in front of the War Memorial has been widened to provide a better line for vehicles travelling north and provide a safe parking location north of the junction. This will discourage parking on the junction in accordance with the Highway Code.

What are the likely benefits?

  •  The modified road layout and the widening of the pedestrian footways is intended to significantly improve safety for road users and pedestrians around this junction
  • Traffic will be slowed by the raised area and the re-alignment of the road formed predominantly by the widening of the footway to the west creating a more significant “kink” in the road.
  • This slowing of traffic may go some way to deter through traffic from using the village.
  • The extended footway to the south outside the Porch House reduces the prominence of the High Street entrance and improves the visibility splay to traffic emerging from the High Street to the left.
  • The widening of the footway to the West in front of the War Memorial also improves the public realm by providing a clear visibility point for pedestrians to cross.

Next steps and funding costs

The Lacock Parish Council (LPC) at their 13th September meeting discussed and a voted to proceed with this proposal to change the road layout at the High Street West Street junction. WC have stated the project will cost £90,000 and are unable pay for this work.
However, they suggested the LPC apply for funding from their annual Transport Substantive Bid fund. This requires Parish/Town Councils to submit their proposals and the financial contributions they are prepared to make. These various projects are then evaluated and some of the most beneficial proposals will then be selected by WC. The LPC voted to apply for this funding and agreed to contribute £20,000 towards the total cost of £90,000, as this is the only way available to try to get the work completed.
We expect to learn within the next few months if our LPC funding bid has been successful.