- Creed Foodservice
- North Star Private Hire
- The Revival Company
- Cotswold Printer
- Herbert Davis Removals and Storage
- Federation of Small Businesses
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.
Managing Director at North Star Private Hire
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.
We strongly support the county council campaign for a double carriageway on this three mile stretch.
The Revival Company,
Gloucester Business Park, Brockworth
Cotswold Printers are a Tewkesbury based company that repair and service 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.
Our customers rely on us to solve their printer problems and it is essential that we get to them with no delays. If an engineer is stuck in traffic for hours you can’t pass that cost on to the customer. We pride ourselves on our rapid response, while traffic delays cost money and adversely affect customer satisfaction.
With Highways England now investigating the options available we hope that we will see one of the solutions coming to fruition in the next few years and make travel easier across Gloucestershire for everyone.
Managing Director at Cotswold Printer
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.
Transport Manager at Herbert Davis Removals and Storage
Glevum Works, Gloucester
FSB Gloucestershire and West of England Region
Gloucestershire is a county that is full of great businesses of all sizes and we are clearly very lucky to be so close to the M5 giving us excellent access to Bristol and the South West one way and Birmingham and the Midlands the other. However, when it comes to the A417 – a vital link to Swindon and the M4 – that is where our luck runs out.
There can’t be a single business or resident in this area who hasn’t experienced major gridlock on this road. There are simply too many cars for too little road and the frustrations faced by businesses trying to get their goods to clients as quickly as possible is an often daily occurrence which is bad for the economy, bad for the environment and obviously very bad for those unlucky enough to get caught up in the regular snarl-ups.
However, the problems around the Air Balloon roundabout and the A417/A419 link are far more than just cost or frustration ones – this is also the source of some of the county’s worst, most frequent accidents. The toll of casualties including fatalities seems to grow all the time and it is no longer a question of ‘if’ should something be done but ‘when’ and how quickly.
We therefore welcome the initiative to develop a plan for a new dual carriage way section for the ‘missing link’ near Birdlip. For the sake of businesses, for the sake of the image of the county as being ‘open to business’ and most importantly of all for the sake of all those who have tragically lost their lives or been seriously injured it’s time that this ‘missing link’ problem was solved once and for all.
FSB Development Manager
FSB Gloucestershire and West of England
Businesses and organisations across the region have pledged their support to the A417 Missing Link scheme.