£450m City Deal held up over beer garden problems

ON HOLD: The A582 Golden Way outside the Brown Hare in Penwortham
ON HOLD: The A582 Golden Way outside the Brown Hare in Penwortham
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A hold-up affecting a key road widening scheme has been slammed as “astonishingly bad planning”.

Penwortham County Councillor David Howarth hit out at highways chiefs after they confessed delays on the A582 Golden Way – a main part of the £450m City Deal – have occured because discussions are continuing with owners of a beer garden.

I think it’s absolutely astonishing if the dualling of the A582 was always going to happen, that planning permission for the pub was given. Why was that land not protected?

Coun Howarth

Marston’s Brewery said that although there was no dispute, the talks were about legalities.

It is the latest problem to hit the scheme after the road layout on the nearby Penwortham flyover slip road from Penwortham Hill was changed in December, following by a series of accidents and complaints.

Phil Wilson, project manager for City Deal, said: “There has been a hold-up on the section next to the Brown Hare involving discussions with landowners, but we’re working to resolve this and we expect it to be sorted soon. It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to give details about these discussions.

“For any major road scheme such as this, it’s possible for unexpected issues to crop up that aren’t known about when work begins.

“We have continued with other widening work while this matter is resolved, and we’re making good progress to create extra capacity on the road network.”

Coun Howarth said: “From the outset I wondered how they were going to fit four lanes down there and was told that they’d be taking land off the Brown Hare.

“I think it’s absolutely astonishing if the dualling of the A582 was always going to happen, that planning permission for the pub was given. Why was that land not protected?

“It makes you wonder when they’re spending that amount of money, and they’ve done that amount of groundwork, why this hasn’t been planned out better?

“It also makes you wonder whether there are any more snags along the way.”

Meanwhile, it has been announced that work to permanently alter the Penwortham flyover slip road from Penwortham Hill will take place between September 10 to 12.

The road layout was changed in December after a series of accidents and complaints.

Using cones, LCC officers later reduced the road from two lanes to one, seeming to calm the problem. Now that improvised design will be made permanent.

Sue Procter, LCC’s director of programmes and project management, said: “These permanent road markings will replace the temporary traffic management arrangements, which we’ve been monitoring since they were introduced last year.

“We adjusted the road layout in this area following feedback from people.

“This work is scheduled for just two nights, during the evening and night time, when traffic levels will be lower.”