Call for action to alleviate traffic turmoil at junction
Snarl-ups at Gilston Road junction, near Carkeel roundabout, have prompted residents to speak out.
19th May 2021
By Suzanne Cleave
Saltash residents are calling for action to be taken to alleviate the traffic issues at the Gilston Road junction, close to Carkeel roundabout.
Many drivers who use visit the shops and food outlets – including McDonalds, Lidl, Costa and Home Bargains - have reported long waits to exit out onto the main road.
One resident, Helen McHale recently took to social media and warned: ‘Avoid Lidl unless you’re desperate. Gridlocked so gave up. Our councillors must deal with this.’
Her message attracted more than 70 replies from people, some of whom had experienced the same.
Helen told the Voice: “It just makes me feel like I’m a second-class citizen. Lidl is my main shop. People say ‘don’t go to Lidl, use Waitrose’, but you get it up there with the tip traffic. People all go up there on Saturdays and Sundays.
“A few days after I posted, another lady said the same. Something has got to be done. It’s happening all the time. I was born and bred in Cornwall.
“I live in Saltash because I wanted to be on this side of the Tamar. I’ve been here since 1982, but I feel like a second-class citizen, as I can’t even get to my shop.”
Helen recalled speaking with one lady who had completed a ten-hour shift in one of the shops, and it had taken her 35 minutes to get out of the car park.
She said: “I’m tired. I just want to get home.’”
Helen said one option is for people to park on the Pilmere estate and walk the last few hundred yards to the shops, but she felt this would have a knock-on effect, resulting in residents having difficulty parking near their homes.
She fears plans for more houses in the area, on top of the increased traffic in summer months will simply exacerbate the problem, adding: “I think it’s going to be manic with people not being able to go abroad and the new houses. I don’t think we’re going to be able to move.
“People are very good. They will stop and let cars out and try not to block the entrance to Lidl, but sometimes it’s physically impossible. It gets gridlocked.
“These fears were raised in the design stages, people were saying this then. I don’t understand how people who have got qualifications in town and country planning can’t see it.
“This has a huge effect on the locals. These are big national companies and they seem to be raking it in and we just have to suffer. It’s just feeling quite helpless. It just makes you feel like you’re insignificant and you haven’t got a say.”
Helen said the issues may persuade people to do their shopping elsewhere, possibly on the way home from work in Plymouth. However, she is keen to continue to use the shops in Saltash Town Centre.
“I’m very keen to use Fore Street. Recently I bought some shoes in the shoe shop and some jewellery and I pop into the Co-op. I’m very passionate about using Fore Street and not relying on bigger out-of-town stores, but I’m just fed up with it.
“If the cost of any work has to come to the ratepayers that might have to be what happens, but I don’t think that’s right.”
Former Independent Cornwall Councillor for Saltash, Derek Holley, who has pledged to continue fighting for remedial works in the area despite a loss in the recent election, said: “It is a real problem and I have been working with Cornwall Council officers for a year or more investigating different possible solutions.
“The preferred solution at the moment is to make two proper lanes, one for the left traffic, one right, for the 20 metres approaching the junction. Now that the council has accepted there that there is a serious problem, they have completed an initial survey which revealed two major gas mains across the entrance of Gilston Road. So the money we had allocated was insufficient.
“The lead officer is now seeking more funding to do the engineering works necessary to bridge these mains. Thank you to the residents who have written in on my request urging the council to take speedy action.
“The ironic thing is that Cornwall Council (us residents) should not be paying for this and it should be being paid for by the new shop developments. Unfortunately, an old agreement allowed Tesco to use the access after the national leading traffic survey firm showed it would be adequate.
“We all disagreed at the time but the council had no option but to agree and now that old permission was used by the current shops’ developer to avoid paying for these improvements.”
Cornwall Council has been contacted for a comment.