WYCHAVON District Council leader Bradley Thomas reckons the recent summit to tackle traffic problems in Evesham can be “a watershed moment”.

Talks have been held between various stakeholders from Worcestershire County Council, Wychavon, Evesham Town Council, Highways England and other bodies over what to do about the rancour of residents over long-standing congestion issues in the town.

Town councillor Emma Nishigaki called for decisions to be taken by those with “full knowledge of the micro problems” and Evesham Journal readers were equally sceptical online but Cllr Thomas, a resident of nearby Badsey, supports the case for local influence.

“I note the words of Grant Shapps (secretary of state for transport) in a letter last week,” he said.

“When it comes to the implementation of new schemes, particularly on sustainable connectivity and active travel, there should be widespread consultation with residents to listen to their views and I wholeheartedly support that.

“This is the first time since I have been on Wychavon – since 2014 – where I have seen all of the stakeholders come together.

“When you have the government pledging to build 300,000 houses nationally per year, having that conversation with all of those people is the right thing to do.

“There are no quick wins. If there were we would have done them but the real positive is that people have listened to local people.

“At the start of the summit we had a section of voxpops from local people – residents, businesses, shoppers, people who drive, people who cycle – and I see it as a bit of a watershed moment in trying to get everyone who is responsible for the transport network together.

“Traffic is highly emotive, I understand that. We all get frustrated by it and we all experience it so we can all talk about it with a degree of confidence and authority.

“It also has to be remembered that no single body is ultimately responsible and to bring everyone together in the way that we have sets a new tone when addressing Evesham’s transport problem moving forwards.

“The problem in Evesham is way more acute than in other towns and I think the evidence demonstrates that.”

Cllr Thomas acknowledged the A46 bypass would also influence how effective any measures in the town would be.

“Much of the work will be for the county council to do so we have broken down the summit into different work streams,” he added.

“One is the short-term piece about infrastructure – lights, signals, signage and junctions – then there is the bigger strategic piece and Wychavon will be working with all partners to try to push for investment in the A46 to drive that side of things and get people moving around the edges of the town because that will have a bearing on the traffic that goes through the town.

“There won’t be any big-ticket stuff overnight but there is some scope for some short-term stuff.”