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Council boss sorry over Ketch debacle
THE managing director of Worcester City Council has issued an apology over the Ketch roundabout revamp saga.
Duncan Sharkey has admitted his authority should have informed community leaders before the row spilled out in a meeting last week. Two Tory councillors who represent St Peter’s, Roger Knight and Aubrey Tarbuck, have been up in arms over the controversial bid to transform the island.
As your Worcester News reported last week, the county council is planning to widen the roundabout, at the top of the A38 Bath Road, to ease congestion. It has now secured a deal from the city council to take control of 0.27 acres of green fields, which are expected to be ripped up for a slip road leading towards the M5.
The move has angered nearby residents, who say they will lose a valued green buffer zone protecting their properties if it goes ahead.
Neither politician was told about the land transfer going to the city council’s cabinet for a decision last week. Mr Sharkey has sent out an e-mail to both of them saying sorry for not contacting them “before the details were public”. He admitted failing to do so was against the council’s constitution, adding: “We got this wrong and I apologise.” The county council is still working on final plans for the roundabout, despite one drawing already appearing in the public domain showing some proposals.
The image shows a slip road on the eastern side of the island, for drivers turning left towards the Whittington island and M5.
It appeared on the website of Malvern Hills District Council earlier this year after being included in a planning application by developers Welbeck Land for a 2,200-home ‘super village’ in south Worcester.
A much bigger roundabout would also be created, possibly 1.5 times the existing size. Coun Tarbuck said: “I feel I need to know about these things in advance, and in this case it never happened.
“You can’t say ‘we want to do this’ without telling us first. They got it wrong.”