The A417 Missing Link – what businesses say

Creed Foodservice

Creed Foodservice is one of the UK’s leading independent food wholesalers with a turnover in excess of £60million, delivering to customers throughout the UK.

The Nettleton Bottom stretch is an issue for everyone living in Gloucestershire or driving through it. The A417 is a key road linking the M5 with the M4, and the majority of the road is problem free thanks to the dual carriageway.

For us at Creed Foodservice, almost half of our fleet head east to deliver to hospitals, schools and care homes in the Home Counties, London and the South East.

There are two main problem areas, the first being the long, steep hill leading up to The Air Balloon pub from Gloucester. This stretch is dogged by frequent, almost daily, articulated lorry breakdowns which can block the road for hours and is now unfortunately an infamous hot spot, cited on national and regional traffic reports.

The second area, and in my opinion the worst stretch, is the westbound, single carriageway between the roundabout before Nettleton Bottom, and the Air Balloon. It’s only a three mile stretch of road but it is no doubt the cause of the mile-long tailbacks most mornings and afternoons.

Taking into account the costs of fuel, increased vehicle servicing due to excess idling time, plus our drivers’ overtime, we have calculated the cost to us to be in excess of £15,000 per annum.

When you multiply this by the hundreds of other companies using the A417, it is obviously having a detrimental effect on the whole county’s economy in the short and long term.

For example, why would any investor looking for new, cost effective locations want to base themselves near this bottleneck?

We, at Creed, also take into account the impact it has on the morale of our drivers. They have often been behind the wheel since the early hours and by the afternoon they just want to finish their job for the day and get back to their families.

Then there is of course the environmental impact; hundreds of lorries and cars queuing and idling, sometimes for hours, polluting the area with CO2 and exhaust emissions.

On behalf of Creed, and as a commuter, I indeed support recommendations for change.

 

Philip de Ternant
Managing Director at Creed Foodservice 

based at Staverton Technology Park, near Churchdown

North Star Private Hire

North Star Private Hire, a taxi firm based in Longlevens, Gloucester, makes frequent airport runs to Heathrow and Gatwick.

The Nettleton Bottom single carriageway is a huge bugbear – we use the A417 on a very regular basis and there are often long tailbacks, especially during the rush hour.

I do a lot of runs to Heathrow, both for holiday makers and business clients, and if you run into a heavy tailback that doesn’t appear to be moving, it can get very tense.

You can feel the tension rising in the car as the clock ticks away and you’re not making any real progress.

You can understand it when people have been working hard all year and are really looking forward to their holiday and they get very anxious about making their flight on time.

I’ve not missed a flight yet but I have been delayed for three-and-a-half hours on a return trip.

This is really bad for business because the airport runs are all on fixed fare so you’re not on the clock and of course you’re not able to take any new fares on when you’re stuck in heavy traffic.

There are alternatives to this stretch of the A417, but they’re not very attractive. I’ve taken the A40 to Oxford and then onto the M40, but as the A40 is single carriageway until after Burford, you risk being stuck behind slow-moving heavy traffic and Oxford can also be a bad bottleneck.

Then there’s the M5/M4 route via Bristol but that put an extra 40 miles onto the trip each way, plus the extra petrol and time.

The sad thing is that, apart from this three mile stretch, the A417 is a fabulous connection.

It makes no sense at all that this problem wasn’t sorted a long time ago and I completely back the county council campaign for the new loop road.

Bob Isherwood
Managing Director at North Star Private Hire
Longlevens, Gloucester 

The Revival Company

A national chain specialising in restoring homes and businesses following floods or fires, The Revival Company needs to provide a rapid response to customers across the east of Gloucestershire and Wilshire – all from our Brockworth branch.

When customers call us, we’re talking about a dire emergency in their lives and the last thing they want is any delay. People have their lives to live and they want to get the problem sorted as soon as possible.

Often they’ve taken time off work to meet us and they don’t want to hang around for hours waiting for us to show.

To keep the business as efficient as possible we try to attend several appointments in the same area on the same day.

It saves time and it saves on fuel but, if there are any delays in the morning, there’s a knock-on effect for the rest of the day.

That means keeping people waiting – sometimes the customer might not be able to and will have to cancel the appointment. So we have to go back on another day, which obviously costs us money.

We can’t expect people to pay if the work hasn’t been done. Any delays hurt our bottom line, damage our customer service and affect the good name that we have worked so hard to build up.

We also have to consider the extra stress on our technicians who have tried to arrange their day around the traffic peak periods.

I would strongly support the county council campaign for a double carriageway on this three mile stretch. For me, it can’t happen soon enough.

Kay Brookes
Branch Manager at The Revival Company
Gloucester Business Park, Brockworth

Cotswold Printer

Cotswold Printer is a Tewkesbury firm that repairs and services printers in offices across the UK, especially in the south west and the south east.

We make regular trips on this stretch of the A417 and our engineers often get snarled up in traffic on that notorious three-mile stretch between the Air Balloon and the Cowley Roundabout.

If our clients have a problem it is essential that we get to them with no delays. We pride ourselves on our rapid response, while traffic delays cost money and adversely affect customer satisfaction.

If a van is stuck in traffic for hours you can’t pass that cost on to the customer. That means we have to factor the cost into our prices, something that is very easy to get wrong because it’s difficult to forecast exactly.

There are ways of avoiding the A417, but this also takes more time and costs extra. It also puts an extra burden on any alternative route such as the A40 to Oxford, which has its own congestion problem at peak times.

This is a big issue for Gloucestershire and you also have to consider the number of accidents on the stretch going up from the Air Balloon pub.

I would completely support the county council’s campaign to improve the route.

Mike Hesketh
Managing Director at Cotswold Printer
Tewkesbury

Herbert Davis Removals and Storage

Based at Glevum Works in Upton Street, Gloucester, Herbert Davis Removals and Storage regularly uses the A417 to make regular trips to and from London, the south east and the rest of the country.

We find the delays on the Nettleton Bottom stretch very frustrating, especially on Thursdays and Fridays when the traffic is terrible and you can be stuck for three-quarters-of-an-hour or more.

It seems totally crazy to have this tiny stretch of road remaining as single carriageway. I’ve been told that it’s the only stretch of single carriageway as a main road between Carlisle and London – and that says it all.

This is the main link between the M5 and M4, carrying an enormous volume of traffic every day, so it definitely needs sorting.

Coming from the south, the A417 is a great road until you hit that roundabout before Nettleton Bottom and it all goes wrong.

The only real alternative is to take the A40 to Oxford and then get on to the M40, although you still get a bit of a bottleneck.

I’ve never really sat down and calculated the cost to our business, but it must be significant both in the extra fuel you burn when you’re sitting with your engine idling and with the time wasted when you could be doing something more productive.

We also have our customers to consider. We know that moving house is a very stressful experience and any delay in delivery to the new home simply adds to that problem.

We certainly support the current campaign to have it included in the Government’s list of major schemes to be approved – and the sooner the better.

Andrew Ford
Transport Manager at Herbert Davis Removals and Storage
Glevum Works, Gloucester

FSB Gloucestershire and West of England Region

Through my role, I make the journey on the A417 between Birdlip and Cirencester on a regular enough basis to feel frustrated by the delays that always seem to dog the Nettleton Bottom stretch of single carriageway.

I can remember the time when this single carriageway extended all the way from Birdlip to Cirencester, with its seemingly endless series of blind summits making overtaking an impossibility for all but the suicidal.

The current road is a vast improvement making commuting to Cirencester and all points beyond a practical possibility – all but for this small stretch.

It means when I visit a client in Cricklade or Swindon, or the FSB regional office in Cirencester I have to allow extra time for negotiating Nettleton Bottom, taking up valuable time and adding to personal stress and extra petrol costs.

Opening up this stretch as a dual carriageway would have an immediate beneficial effect not just in Gloucestershire but to the wider area.

In my FSB work I meet many business people who share my concerns and who are convinced  improving this aspect of our infrastructure would be beneficial for their business.

Sorting out the A417 will cost money, that has never been in doubt. We just need the powers that be to bite the bullet and get on with it.

I would urge all businesses large and small to get behind this campaign and pledge their support.

Mark Owen 
Chairman
FSB Gloucestershire and West of England Region

Why the 417 loop has to happen for Gloucestershire

Supporters

Businesses and organisations across the region have pledged their support to the A417 Loop scheme.
121 Pro data
Alexander Hughes
Anamosys
Babcock
Badger towers
barnwood
Cheltenham Borough Council
cheltenham chamber
choir press
Circle 2 success
Coberley Parish Council
cole-easdon
cope sales
Cotswold barristers
Cotswold District Council
Cotswold printers
Cowley & Birdlip parish Council
cullimore group
CWFC
davis gregory
enabling selling
enjoy recruitment
Federation of Small Businesses
Forest of Dean District Council
Fusion design
G first LEP
Glos jobs
Gloucester City Council
gloucestershire airport
Gloucestershire Echo
Gravitas PR
Greenoak building services
Gyroscope
Harisson rickerbys
hazlewoods
heli air
Helipebs controls
HR Business
hrml
idea data
innova
ja tech
John ryde
Laithwaites
Lister communications
modern energy solutions
module it
Moose Marketing & PR
Moreton in Marsh
Naunton Parish council
Omega engineering
Omega global resources
Plan a
Potentia
Prestbury marketing
Prima dental
Randall payne
React survey
smart computers
specialist fire flame

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