Spend £38m on a north-west link road instead, says Worcester politician

Worcester News: The A4440 Southern Link Road in Worcester The A4440 Southern Link Road in Worcester

CALLS are being made to scrap plans to spend £38 million part-dualling Worcester’s A4440 southern link and put it towards completing the north-west ring road instead.

A senior member of Worcestershire County Council’s Labour group says part-dualling the route “defies logic” and will only heap more pressure on the Carrington Bridge.

Councillor Richard Udall, who represents St John’s, wants County Hall to focus on the north-west link road instead, creating another river crossing.

His stance has angered the Conservative leadership at the council, which says his position is “illogical” and threatens the economic future of Worcester.

Back in 2010 the council revealed proposals for a north-west link road, which would link the Claines and Crown East roundabouts, run through Lower Broadheath and include a river bridge either west or east of Hallow.

But since then the project has died a slow death, not least because the costs are likely to top £150 million.

Earlier this month the council revealed plans to part-dual the A4440 Southern Link Road, in St Peter’s, by 2018, but not do anything to Carrington Bridge yet.

Coun Udall said: “This decision defies all logic, it attacks the symptoms of the problem not the causes.

“The real problem is one of capacity, too many vehicles are using the same road and widening the road will not take those vehicles away.

“The only way to avoid the problems Worcester is experiencing would be to spend this money on completing the ring road with another river crossing to the north of the city.

“Anything short of that is not going to work and will only add to the already congested streets.

“"All the council are creating is a very expensive free car park for queuing traffic.”

He also accused the Tories of “avoiding the needs of Worcester” because they don’t want to upset traditional core voters by cutting through swathes of land.

It has been strongly refuted by Councillor Simon Geraghty, the deputy leader, and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, who says his argument is “inconsistent”.

“His own Labour Party which runs Worcester City Council recognises the southern link must be a priority, it’s in their strategic framework, so he’s at odds with them,” he said.

“We must improve that network not only to deal with the existing problem, but tackle the congestion from further growth in housing.

“Dualling the Ketch to Whittington roundabout is an essential requirement of the South Worcestershire Development Plan, so his argument is illogical.

“You can’t have any development without the infrastructure. We need to deal with this now rather than looking at something that would cost £150 million.”

Back in 2010 the council said a north-west link would take priority over the A4440, because it would deliver the most benefits for Worcester.

But in the years since then the attitude has shifted, particularly because of the costs and disruption involved.

A north-west link would see a listed farmhouse at the top of the A449 in Claines demolished, and cut through waterways, other listed buildings, conservation areas and several landmarks.

Of the £38 million for the A4440, £6 million has already been handed over from the Government, and must be used on the doubling of the Ketch roundabout.

That work will start in March next year, and be complete by the spring of 2015.

For the rest of the project, the council is working on significant private sector funding, mainly from Welbeck Land, a developer looking to build 2,200 homes off Crookbarrow Way in a £400 milllion complex.

As your Worcester News revealed last week, the council also says it wants to finish the job off  by eventually dualling the Carrington Bridge after 2018.

Comments (10)

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11:38am Thu 19 Dec 13

brooksider says...

"include a river bridge either west or east of Hallow."
Am I missing something here?
I would definitely advise building a bridge east of Hallow because that's where the river is.
"include a river bridge either west or east of Hallow." Am I missing something here? I would definitely advise building a bridge east of Hallow because that's where the river is. brooksider

12:00pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Hwicce says...

At last a bit of common sense.

Ok, £150m is a lot of money, but if you chop it up into 3 sections.

A44 Crown East roundabout -> B4204 Martley Road
B4204 Martley Road -> A443 (tinkers Copice area)
A443 ->A449

Then you only need 3 lots of £50m.

There are already plans fro development at Crown East and the A449 ends of this which should provide some of the funding. Add in some development around Hallow and you might be well on the way to getting the money off developers.

At the moment you can draw a line from the A44 to the A449 without touching a single property so the flannel about demolishing buildings doesn't hold true.
At last a bit of common sense. Ok, £150m is a lot of money, but if you chop it up into 3 sections. A44 Crown East roundabout -> B4204 Martley Road B4204 Martley Road -> A443 (tinkers Copice area) A443 ->A449 Then you only need 3 lots of £50m. There are already plans fro development at Crown East and the A449 ends of this which should provide some of the funding. Add in some development around Hallow and you might be well on the way to getting the money off developers. At the moment you can draw a line from the A44 to the A449 without touching a single property so the flannel about demolishing buildings doesn't hold true. Hwicce

12:08pm Thu 19 Dec 13

From the library says...

Councillor Richard Udall should have a conversation with Councillor Aubrey Tarbuck.

He might find more support for his proposal.
Councillor Richard Udall should have a conversation with Councillor Aubrey Tarbuck. He might find more support for his proposal. From the library

12:19pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Marant says...

Yes, but putting in a northern link would destroy the ambience at the Camp and threaten Bevere Island, so I'm against it.

On a more serious note, a northern link would lead to massive infill development in the area surrounded and way more pressure on Junction 6, which is already terrible in the mornings. If this is going to be done, it needs to be done holistically, with much more employment land being provided. Birmingham and the Black Country Councils want us to be a sleeper settlement for them, with them taking all the employment land (as per the local development strategy plans). This can't be allowed to happen. If the northern link is made and we only get residential land in the infill, and not sufficient employment land, then there will be just as much gridlock to the north as the south. The northern link road is not a panacea that will solve traffic problems to the south of Worcester. For a while it would, then we'd just end up with bad roads to the south and north, unless sufficient employment land is allocated to minimise the need for commuting.

Also, you need to be really careful that ring roads don't suck the life out of the town centre (like Redditch) as people speed round to out of town developments.
Yes, but putting in a northern link would destroy the ambience at the Camp and threaten Bevere Island, so I'm against it. On a more serious note, a northern link would lead to massive infill development in the area surrounded and way more pressure on Junction 6, which is already terrible in the mornings. If this is going to be done, it needs to be done holistically, with much more employment land being provided. Birmingham and the Black Country Councils want us to be a sleeper settlement for them, with them taking all the employment land (as per the local development strategy plans). This can't be allowed to happen. If the northern link is made and we only get residential land in the infill, and not sufficient employment land, then there will be just as much gridlock to the north as the south. The northern link road is not a panacea that will solve traffic problems to the south of Worcester. For a while it would, then we'd just end up with bad roads to the south and north, unless sufficient employment land is allocated to minimise the need for commuting. Also, you need to be really careful that ring roads don't suck the life out of the town centre (like Redditch) as people speed round to out of town developments. Marant

12:32pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Hwicce says...

There's a big employment development planned for the Worcester Technology Park along Pershore Lane by M5 J6. So that's 3000 jobs on the North East side of Worcester and all the new houses on the South West side.

Which bridge and road do you think they are going to use to get to work?

The Council just keep digging that hole......
There's a big employment development planned for the Worcester Technology Park along Pershore Lane by M5 J6. So that's 3000 jobs on the North East side of Worcester and all the new houses on the South West side. Which bridge and road do you think they are going to use to get to work? The Council just keep digging that hole...... Hwicce

2:06pm Thu 19 Dec 13

bashby says...

St John’s is dying. It needs investment and jobs. St John’s is fast becoming a slum of flats and its now isolated residents are being forced to move on to find work elsewhere.
When the ring-road is complete, towns as far away as Hereford, Malvern, Bromyard and Tenbury will all benefit economically.
At present it can take up to 40 minutes to get the motorway just three miles away – it is just not attractive or commercially viable to operate a business west of the river.
As for the lack of jobs locally I suspect that a large proportion of the traffic that uses the southern link are commuters from Malvern who have to work north in Birmingham, therefore as opposed to using the southern link the completed ring road will provide the alternative.
I for one also feel for the residents of Bromyard Road whose once grand Victorian houses are shaking to the vibrations of the huge gravel lorries, constant congestion and whose properties are being strangled by flats for all sorts.
St John’s is dying. It needs investment and jobs. St John’s is fast becoming a slum of flats and its now isolated residents are being forced to move on to find work elsewhere. When the ring-road is complete, towns as far away as Hereford, Malvern, Bromyard and Tenbury will all benefit economically. At present it can take up to 40 minutes to get the motorway just three miles away – it is just not attractive or commercially viable to operate a business west of the river. As for the lack of jobs locally I suspect that a large proportion of the traffic that uses the southern link are commuters from Malvern who have to work north in Birmingham, therefore as opposed to using the southern link the completed ring road will provide the alternative. I for one also feel for the residents of Bromyard Road whose once grand Victorian houses are shaking to the vibrations of the huge gravel lorries, constant congestion and whose properties are being strangled by flats for all sorts. bashby

4:57pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Andy_R says...

Well at least the council are finally having a discussion about the desperately needed road improvements that they should have built decades ago. If the barmy 23,000 new homes in the South Worcestershire Development Plan is going to happen, then we'll be needing a complete ring road, with 4 lanes the whole way. The council needs to work out what this will cost, divide it by 23,000 and make developers cough up that much for each house up front.
Well at least the council are finally having a discussion about the desperately needed road improvements that they should have built decades ago. If the barmy 23,000 new homes in the South Worcestershire Development Plan is going to happen, then we'll be needing a complete ring road, with 4 lanes the whole way. The council needs to work out what this will cost, divide it by 23,000 and make developers cough up that much for each house up front. Andy_R

6:53pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Piccolo says...

This is perhaps the most - even only? - sensible thing I've heard from Richard Udall for a very long time.
This is perhaps the most - even only? - sensible thing I've heard from Richard Udall for a very long time. Piccolo

9:40pm Thu 19 Dec 13

grumpy woman says...

At last. A councillor who can see past his own interests and puts Worcester first. Well done Councillor Udall.
At last. A councillor who can see past his own interests and puts Worcester first. Well done Councillor Udall. grumpy woman

3:56am Fri 20 Dec 13

geoffknightonseverngmail.com says...

When I approach Worcester in my big lorry, I think to myself "should I go through the center and clog it up a bit, or should I risk the southern link car park". What do you think i often choose?

If there was a complete ring road I would go north about up the new road, or happily use the southern ring road that would only have half of the cars on it.

Well done for talking sense at last. Worcester needs to finish the ring road. The only comments against the idea are the Claines NIMBYS

Actually I don't drive a lorry, and I don't approach Worcester much either - Mainly because of the traffic chaos you seem to specialize in.
When I approach Worcester in my big lorry, I think to myself "should I go through the center and clog it up a bit, or should I risk the southern link car park". What do you think i often choose? If there was a complete ring road I would go north about up the new road, or happily use the southern ring road that would only have half of the cars on it. Well done for talking sense at last. Worcester needs to finish the ring road. The only comments against the idea are the Claines NIMBYS Actually I don't drive a lorry, and I don't approach Worcester much either - Mainly because of the traffic chaos you seem to specialize in. geoffknightonseverngmail.com

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