CALLS are being made to rethink plans to spend £8 million on revamping Worcester’s Ketch island – amid claims the area will look like “a prison”.

Worcestershire County Council wants to double the size of the roundabout in St Peter’s and create a slip lane cutting into a grassed bank next to the residential Begonia Close.

Suggestions are being made that a fence should be erected, following anger from residents, who say removal of the attractive green verge will reduce the values of their properties.

The council says an acoustic fence would help reduce noise from the traffic being brought so close to their homes.

During ongoing talks, the authority has also revealed it is considering planting new flowers along the route, by the new fencing, to make it appear more attractive. 

But Councillor Aubrey Tarbuck, who represents St Peter’s at Worcester City Council, says it could make the landscape worse.

“I think it’s complete rubbish,” he said.

“It will feel like a prison.

“The people around there aren’t happy with the situation and I don’t see how that will solve the problem.

“There is a lot of feeling about this and the county council does have questions to answer.”

His concerns have been echoed by fellow Coun Roger Knight, who has suggested the entire roundabout be moved south, protecting the green bank.

He said: “I have always expected to be shown the rejected schemes that have led to the current one, to help understand why the roundabout can't be located 25 yards to the south and marginally to the west.”

The work is still out for consultation and forms part of a plan to part-dual the A4440 Southern Link Road by 2018.

Coun Simon Geraghty, the county council’s deputy leader, has already said the scheme itself will not significantly change.

He said there are complicated issues which mean the physical location of the lane cannot be changed, including an underground oil pipe.

Peter Blake, head of integrated transport at the council, said: "The council has been working closely with residents to find the best agreeable solution to reduce any potential impact the changes to road layout might have for them.

“The first phase of dualling the A4440 is vitally important to improve things on one of the busiest routes, which approximately 30,500 vehicles use each weekday in Worcestershire.

“This brings benefits for those using the road and, not least, it significantly helps the local economy.”

The project is due to start around April and take 12 months to complete, with the slip-road created for drivers turning left off Bath Road heading towards Norton island.

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