Disclaimer: Statements and opinions here are my own. They don’t necessarily represent the Council’s policies or opinions, or anybody else’s.
Many residents have raised issues over the damaged and missing signage in Common Platt.
It’s not looking good there, as the photographs show.
To date, Wiltshire Council’s response has been to wait until implementation of the new road layout following completion of Ridgeway Farm. Here is a copy of the text of my follow-up to their response, which was to close the issue I raised.
“Common Platt Signage – follow up to issue 1723866
Thank you for the various copy documents.
I appreciate that the situation at the Casa Paolo junction is complex, and I am embarking on a review of the various documents and permissions. Complexity to one side, it remains the case that the residents of Common Platt continue to suffer daily because of the issues caused by Ridgeway Farm, associated development, and the continued delay (for whatever reason) in addressing these issues.
If I understand the Council’s position correctly, the justification for not doing anything about the damaged signage is that it is only directional, and the layout may change because of the Ridgeway Farm works. Not wanting to spend money unnecessarily is understandable. However, the damaged signs have now become an established feature of the Common Platt scenery, making it look extremely neglected and run down, and poise serious safety concerns near to what is a very busy and dangerous junction.
My FOIA request shows that the issue of damaged signage was raised at least as early as September 2016 (reference 881978). Given that we are now some 17 months after that issue was raised, the justification for the delay is questionable, and, understandably, upsetting to residents who are starting to view this sorry state as near-permanent.
The area is rapidly resembling a corner of the third-world, with deterioration leading to further deterioration, as can be seen in the state of the road coming in from the Fox, where the “40” miles sign has become eroded and one half of the road turned into a pothole. (Pictured below)
Indeed, in Wiltshire Council’s summary of its own Local Highways Investment Fund 214-2020, it recognizes the importance of ensuring such signage is maintained in good condition (my emphasis added)—
“Public Health Implications
34. The condition of roads and related infrastructure can have serious safety implications, especially with regard to skid resistance and condition of highways and the contribution they can make to reducing accidents. Roads, bridges, highway structures, signs and street lighting need to be kept in good condition in order to protect the public and those maintaining the assets.
35. The investment through the ‘Local Highways Investment Fund 2014 – 2020’ is improving the condition of the highway network and should help improve safety. The current strategy to maintain and improve the highway assets should help to reduce traffic accidents and vehicle collisions.”
This, of course, echoes National Guidance. The Traffic Signs Manual (1982) also states the importance of preserving and maintaining signage (again, my emphasis added)—
“1.73 Signs must at all times be maintained so as to preserve their original effectiveness and general condition. It is a waste of public money to provide signs and then to allow them to lose effectiveness by subsequent deterioration.
1.74 Signs become less effective not only when characters or colouring deteriorate, but also when dirty or damaged or displaced as a result of accidents or vandalism. Damaged or dirty signs discredit the highway authority and lessen road users’ respect for the signs. A periodic inspection of signs should be made to ensure their early repair and/or replacement when necessary and after dark inspections should be made of illuminated or reflectorised signs.
Further, one of these signs is a Give Way sign and is not simply directional.
The Give Way sign which is damaged has been propped up, I believe, temporarily. Whilst it appears that a temporary “fix” has been attempted as you will note from the photograph of the sign (see below), this is hardly adequate or conducive to a good street scene.
With regard, specifically to the Give Way sign, I note from proposals for the street scene after the development (reference 0440-TS-600-B) that the Give Way sign here is to be maintained. Given this, can it not be properly reinstated?
Presumably, the Give Way sign was positioned at this junction for a reason. So, if it is not maintained, and repaired, are you able to confirm that there are no safety implications?
The sign was, I believe, damaged by a vehicle, which also damaged the adjacent fence and a resident has details of the registration plate so, if so minded, the Council could seek recourse against the owner of that vehicle. The fact that junction, which has a well-deserved reputation for being nasty, has seen several accidents should also be noted.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are you able to confirm when the layout changes connected to the Ridgeway Farm development referred to will be carried out, if this is what is preventing the reinstatement of the signage and the repair of those which are damaged, and the damaged road surface? As things stand, there appears to be no resolution in sight.