Golden Valley Standard:

Improving life and work

The A419 between Stroud and Chalford, in South West England, is a peri-urban corridor with residential areas, schools, and businesses scattered along the beautiful Cotswold landscape christened the Golden Valley by Queen Victoria. The valley is host to several buildings of industrial heritage, some are home to thriving businesses and cultural attractions, while others are vacant, presenting a compelling opportunity for development.

Improving life and work through high quality walking and cycling

The A419 road runs in complex parallel with the railway line, the River Frome, and the Stroudwater Navigation canal. Currently the corridor is subject to both congestion and speeding. As such, the road poses a major safety hazard to local residents, and severs north-south connections. The current provision for pedestrians is very poor, and for cyclists non-existent.

Witteveen+Bos UK Ltd was invited in partnership with Clifton Emery design to conduct an inspiration  study of the A419 between Stroud and Chalford. The purpose of this study, executed in 2019-2020,   was to establish the potential of upgrading the busy and congested A419 into a multi-modal, active green corridor with high quality walking and cycling.

Provision for walking and cycling is sorely needed, especially in the context of the climate emergency, seeing that transport is Stroud’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions at 54% of the total. As such, modal shift to walking, cycling and public transport is an  important lever to deliver zero carbon targets by 2030.

Transformation for residents and visitors

The project was engagement-led, with three drop-in workshops held in community locations in parallel with an online survey. The client stakeholder group included Brimscombe & Thrupp Parish Council, Chalford Parish Council, Stroud Town Council, Stroud Valley Cycling Campaign as well as the highways partner Gloucestershire County Council. The client vision for the project was to put the Golden Valley on the map as an outstanding place to live and work.

The initial concept proposes a 6.5km ‘Golden Valley standard’ of 2.5 m footway on one side of the A419 with a 3.5 m bidirectional cycle track on the other.   

This project would result in transformational change, both for residents and visitors to this valley. The high quality, high speed bidirectional cycle track and the use of sections of ‘cycle streets’ is highly innovative in the UK. The proposal of a Dutch-style roundabout would be one of the first of its kind in UK.

The proposals include introducing 20 mph zones in 8 locations along the route where placemaking treatment of the road environment will reinstate villages severed by the A419 and help better connect communities.

The study identified key development sites along the A419, and potential to address wider challenges including flood resilience, asbestos contamination, and regeneration of over 100 currently empty heritage buildings along the corridor.

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