Businesses in Truro say plans to introduce a pedestrian and cycle path on the road leading into an industrial estate could result in 'people being killed'.
Cornwall Council has announced plans to go ahead with a scheme to narrow the road into Newham Industrial Estate, which is home to 190 businesses employing more than 1,000 people.
The council aims to create a shared pedestrian and cycle path into the estate as part of the healthy living Truro Loops project.
More than 40 local businesses objected to the plans as they raised concerns about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians along what is the only road in and out of the estate.
However, Councillor Connor Donnithorne, portfolio holder for transport, revealed at a Cornwall Council meeting on 18 April that the work would now go ahead following the results of a road safety assessment.
His response came after a member of the public asked if the council would accept responsibility if someone was killed on the stretch of road.
Mr MacQuarrie, of Camborne, asked: “Newham accommodates industrial and distribution businesses; access constrains the viability of the estate. The council’s design guide would stipulate a carriageway of 7.3m.
"The Truro Loops scheme would see sections narrowed to just 6.5m. When someone is killed and businesses have to close will the council accept responsibility?”
Cllr Donnithorne argued that the project would not put anyone's safety at risk.
"Without the proposed scheme, cyclists would be left to share the road with HGVs.
"I went to the site at the invitation of the Newham BID and paused the continuation of that scheme until a formal road safety assessment was completed.
"No further recommendations to change that proposal were made as a result of that assessment and therefore as decision makers one has to go on the evidence. All viewpoints were taken into account and it’s right that we follow the evidence.”
Loic Rich, Independent councillor for Truro Tregolls, added: “I’d like to thank Cllr Donnithorne on his decision on the Newham cycle lane. Myself and many residents in Truro as volunteers have worked tirelessly to improve Truro in terms of active travel, walking and cycling, and this section really was crucial to fulfilling a wider ambition in Truro for people to use their cars less and make it safer for people, and this will make it safer.
"I really appreciate that everyone has a right to air their views and concerns, but I think this is a really good decision and I know a lot of people will be delighted.”
However, not everyone is pleased by the plans and one business manager says they will take further steps to stop the plans going ahead.
Mel Richardson, Manager of the Newham Business Improvement District, said: “We don’t accept the council’s justification for narrowing the road, which relies on what we believe are flawed assumptions about the type of businesses on the estate and ignores the high number of industrial occupiers.
"Nor do we accept that the council’s recently conducted safety audit has properly considered a number of important issues.
“We believe this scheme presents a risk to the safety of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists and we are considering our next steps.”
Credit: Lee Trewhela/ Local Democracy Reporting Service