23 May 2024
Bibury Meeting

On 18th May Sir Geoffrey called a public meeting in Bibury Village Hall to serve as a platform to discuss the pressing issues affecting Bibury, Arlington and Ablington and to listen to the concerns of residents. In attendance were Cllr David Fowles (Coln Valley), Cllr Craig Chapman, (Chair of the Parish Council), and around 25 local residents.

The main issues discussed included the impact of tourism on parking and traffic management. Residents voiced concerns about the strain on local infrastructure, citing data indicating 40,000 traffic movements weekly across the bridge near The Swan Hotel, including heavy vehicles. This stone bridge was never designed to cope with this volume of traffic and weight. This has led to damage to the bridge and there was a crack appearing which the Highways structures team are looking at. A closure of the bridge would cause huge disruption to the community.  Sir Geoffrey proposed exploring whether a coach booking system to regulate tourist arrivals and alleviate congestion may be a feasible option. Another key message was not only the need to find additional suitable parking but also the need to enforce parking restrictions such as yellow lines which must be done the whole time not just on odd days to serve as a deterrent.

Discussions also centred on proposed plans for the Trout Farm, contentious planning applications and development affecting the landscape of the village and managing disruption to the community from construction works and the proposal for green space designation. The environment, flooding and management of the River Coln were also on the agenda.

After the meeting closed, Sir Geoffrey had a walk around the village so he could see some of the issues firsthand.

Commenting, Sir Geoffrey said:

‘I was very interested to hear the views of local residents, many of whom had strong feelings on the issues which were raised. I will be happy to support where I can to help find suitable solutions.

‘I have regular meetings with Rob Weaver the Chief Executive at CDC and Gloucestershire police where I will relay the useful feedback I have received from this productive meeting. It is important that there is a constructive dialogue and engagement between the community and various authorities to ensure that we address some of these challenges.’