Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Spend £38m on a north-west link road instead, says Worcester politician
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 are closed on this article.