The cost of Corsham’s Public Realm

We have been living in Towns for about 7000 years and the streets are where we met each other, shop, ran businesses, socialized and where children played.  Just over 100 years ago the motor car came along and began to change the nature of the street, people were pushed to the side pavements and motorized transport became dominant.  In fact laws were passed to ensure the dominance of the car is our streets was maintained.  The result of this change is that streets are now seen as dangerous places, we have become socially isolated, and have seen the decline of the High Street.  So in order to meet people, shop, get to work or school we must get in a car.

About 2 years ago Corsham’s public realm study final report was published which provides a vision for Corsham that is people centric. An example of this is the imagined view of the Pickwick roundabout which has increased space for pedestrians and cyclists, with crossing points and is much more aesthetically pleasing.   The plan provides similar visions for the other gateway point, enhances the area around Newlands road by building new shops that are in keeping with Corsham’s historic core and builds an attractive streetscape centered around people.  The cost of implementing the Public Realm plan for Corsham was estimated at £4M which is about the same price as 800 yards of dual carriageway around Chippenham!

Think of what the 800 yards of dual carriageway does – moving the ‘bottle-necks’ slightly closer to Lacock heading to Melksham.  The 450 homes on the Hunters Moon development South of Chippenham will easily provide sufficient traffic to clog up the A350 after the current roadworks are complete.  This is because people have no choice other than to use their car.  There is one family who take their children to school in Corsham by bicycle from the new Copenacre housing development on the A4.  That family uses a three wheeled cargo bike to transport their children and they are forced to use the inadequate pavement alongside the A4 which is illegal.  We must decide how we want to live.

A View of Pickwick roundabout from the Public Realm Study Corsham


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