A £24m ring road would rid a Lancashire village of a 40-year nightmare caused by traffic congestion, air pollution and noise, a public inquiry has been told.
Planners who want to build the Broughton Bypass faced residents and a government inspector at the start of a six-day hearing in Fulwood.
County Council experts opened their case for the road to be built claiming villagers whose homes straddle the busy A6 between Preston and Garstang had been forced to endure four decades of misery due to “unacceptable” traffic levels which often caused gridlock and poor air quality.
“For over 40 years Broughton has suffered congestion and the associated environnmental impacts,” said John Barrett, counsel for LCC.
“The congestion results in long queues, severance of the village, safety issues and air and noise pollution. In 2012 Preston City Council declared an air quality management area for Broughton village as a consequence of high levels of nitrogen dioxide attributable to vehicle emissions. The bypass will remove a large volume of traffic from the village and result in a considerable improvement in air quality.”
LCC is asking HM Inspector Diane Lewis to grant a compulsory purchase order and a side roads order to allow the highway to go ahead. But the hearing at Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Club will hear from some residents who argue the proposed route to the east of the village is not suitable because of the impact it will have on properties, which include the village church, primary school and museum.
But in his opening address, Mr Barrett said that while 28 historical buildings would experience some impact during construction, only one would have “moderate” impact after it was completed. At the same time 56 properties would see reduced noise levels, while only three would experience a perceptible increase.