A HIGHWAYS council chief has welcomed progress on multi-million pounds schemes to reduce congestion across the county - but other councillors accused him of being 'in fantasy land.'

Councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member for Highways said he was pleased with the progress of the county's Relieving Congestion programme. The programme which has received £22 million since 2017 includes improvements to the A44 corridor in Worcester at Sidbury, Croft Road and St Johns, improvements at Icknield Street Drive roundabout in Redditch and Hoobrook/Chester Road island in Kidderminster as well as walking and cycling improvements in and around Bromsgrove.

Councillor Amos said: "Reducing Congestion is one of the county council’s key priorities as it remains top of the list for improvement when we ask you, our residents. I look forward to seeing the schemes progress and we’ll make sure we keep you up to date.”

However, his comments were met with derision by other two other councillors.

Richard Udall, county councillor for St. John’s, where recent roadworks have caused a storm among local residents, said: “I suspect the people who think the schemes are progressing well are in some kind of parallel universe or fantasy land.

“We as a community are living in a traffic nightmare caused by these road works; we are seeing footpaths being narrowed, pedestrian crossings being removed and bus lanes disappearing.

“The changes to reduce congestion will simply not work unless they reduce capacity, we need a ring road around the city with a new bridge to the north, taking through traffic out of St John’s and the city, anything short of that is simply playing politics with traffic. Cllr Amos needs to stop, listen and learn before he makes any more mistakes.”

Cllr Matthew Jenkins, who represents the green party, added: “The council are trying to tackle congestion by focusing on trying to get cars through an area more quickly, usually by making more space for cars.What the research shows is this is the wrong approach. More space for cars just creates more cars, and you are back to square one.”

“The best approach is to reduce the number of cars, by focusing on how best to move people. Such as through Park and Ride schemes, with bus fares cheaper than parking all day in the city centre, with decent cycling infrastructure, by making it safer and easier to walk, rather than reducing the pavement width as in St. John’s.

“The Conservative-led county council are stuck in the 1970’s when it comes to tackling congestion. And the consequence of this is not only the expectation of more congestion, but also the resulting air pollution and the failure to tackle climate change.”