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Changes to Worcester route could hit St Peter's homeowners
FURIOUS residents packed a meeting to voice their ‘disgust’ over a controversial revamp of a Worcester roundabout.
Householders affected by the proposed expansion of the Ketch island said they were “disgusted” about being “kept in the dark” over the scheme.
Worcestershire County Council is drawing up plans for a multi-million pound change which could see the A38 Bath Road roundabout nearly double in size.
It is also considering a new slip-road for drivers turning left up Broomhall Way towards the M5, meaning a section of green land near their homes would be dug up.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the city council’s cabinet agreed to hand over the patch of green land to County Hall, despite pleas from residents not to.
Their decision came despite 28 objections from the public and more than 100 residents signing a petition against the plan.
The green land, which is 0.27 acres in size, includes a row of trees and a cycle lane, and protects properties from vehicle noise and pollution.
Michael Sandison, of Orchard Close, St Peter’s, said: “We were not informed of this proposal, which will have serious consequences of putting our properties in a position where we will never be able to sell them.”
And Kristian Richardson, who lives in Begonia Close, said: “This land fulfils a vital function - it will move taxpaying residents closer to a main road and have a detrimental affect on all our properties, which we have poured our life savings into.
“Everyone is in uproar, it’s causing health issues for families around here.”
During the debate, fellow residents said the green land was “part of St Peter’s character” and urged the idea to be rejected.
However, the cabinet agreed to transfer the land over, saying residents’ frustrations should be directed at County Hall.
Councillor Geoff Williams, deputy leader and the cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: “Any decision to take land out of open space is controversial - this one is no different.
“I don’t think it’s in the interests of the wider city or St Peter’s to scupper this.”
He said he would write to the county council to ask for a “comprehensive consultation” with residents once final plans are made public.
The county council has yet to confirm the exact proposals for the roundabout and still insists it is some way off making an announcement.
Coun Williams added: “Lots of concerns have been expressed about a roads scheme which is not yet published.”
The cabinet also said if it refused, County Hall would be likely to try and get the land via a compulsory purchase order (CPO), costing taxpayers money.
It also asked residents to object to the county council if they still had reservations once the final plans are ready.
Tempers flared after the decision, with residents saying “what a waste of time” and “you’ve got no consideration for us at all” as they left.
TRANSPORT bosses at Worcestershire County Council have defended their land grab - and say they are trying to finalise the scheme as fast as possible.
The authority insists the Ketch island work is part of a package of improvements it wants to see around the notorious A4440 Southern Link Road.
Peter Blake, head of integrated transport, said: "The developments to the Ketch roundabout will form part of the next stage in the overall plan to improve the traffic flow across the Southern Link Road for residents and local businesses.
“Any junction improvements must be able to accommodate all of the issues in the local area including flooding and drainage, an oil pipeline and electricity pylon.
“We're not yet in this position, but working to put things in place as soon as practicable.
“We will be bringing forward proposals to local residents and users of the route as soon as possible.”
Earlier this year developer Welbeck Land, which is looking to create a £400m ‘super village’ in south Worcester, revealed a drawing does exist showing some proposals for the Ketch.
The image, which shows the slip road, appeared on the website of Malvern Hills District Council as part of the company’s planning application for 3,000 homes.
But despite the image having a county council logo on it, highways chiefs say they are some way off making their final plans public.
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