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What we all think of the town's traffic

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 15, 2014

What we all think of the town's traffic

What we all think of the town's traffic

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A study into what people love and hate about Ashbourne has flagged up transport as our chief concern. Reporter Gareth Butterfield took a closer look at the facts and figures.

ACCORDING to official figures, Ashbourne's busiest junction, at the bottom of Derby Hill, sees nearly 13,000 vehicles pass through it every day.

That's about 600 vehicles an hour, or one every six seconds making its way through the five-way junction and then navigating our historical streets.

It's also been estimated that one lorry every 70 seconds winds its way through the town centre and, over several decades, this has prompted calls for a bypass.

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From 3,000 responses, the Ashbourne Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has revealed that 29 per cent of townsfolk questioned say transport is the worst aspect of life in the town. Only one per cent of the responses cited it as being its best aspect.

Traffic was at the heart of the problems identified by the survey, which asked open-ended questions and were collated into pie charts and used to form a document highlighting the plan's next steps.

Using data from traffic studies carried out in the past, along with figures from the Office of National Statistics, group member Frank Hobbs plotted a map of the town's roads, overlaying the numbers of vehicles that, on average, encounter its key junctions day-to-day.

He used a formula to predict how some of the town's biggest proposed and permitted developments might add to numbers using the roads.

Plans to develop part of the airfield alongside the industrial estate, which encompasses a proposed 367 houses, could add an estimated 540 cars per day.

Responding to the survey outcome in its "next steps" evaluation, the neighbourhood plan outlined which aspects of transport would become policies.

It states: "The feedback identified key issues relating to traffic congestion within and around the town, particularly the volume of commercial vehicles and car parking, both from an availability point of view and cost.

"A policy would encourage schemes which helped the traffic flow and the relationship with pedestrians while supporting the long-term objective of a bypass.

"There needs to be policies regarding parking.''

Ashbourne's MP, Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said he hoped central funding might find its way to the town. He said: "The residents of Ashbourne have every right to expect good transport. I have a responsibility to all regions butI regard it as essential that the vibrant communities of the East Midlands can compete with the best of them.

"We've devolved decision-making around local transport investment to Local Enterprise Partnerships.

"There is £2 billion a year available for that investment and I hope Ashbourne will benefit from it.''

In the survey, residents said they were proud of Ashbourne's character and they loved its sense of community.

Its environment scored highly and many applauded the leisure and health facilities, with its well-known mix of shops also mentioned.

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