A planning inquiry into a council land grab should not delay the building of the controversial Broughton Bypass.
That was the message from County Hall after it was announced a Government inspector will consider objections to a compulsory purchase order in April.
Lancashire County Council has targeted around 42 acres of mainly agricultural land to build the new road around the village north of Preston. More than 40 objections have been lodged and those will be heard at the inquiry which starts on April 14 at Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Club.
But some locals who fear the process might hold up work on a bypass they view as essential to rid Broughton of traffic congestion and air pollution have been told it should not affect the start date in a year’s time – assuming the project gets the nod.
“Our schedule for building the bypass, starting on site in late 2015, accounts for the time which may be needed for a planning inquiry, but is dependent on when a decision is reached following the inquiry,” explained Martin Galloway, head of network management for LCC.
“In total the land needed for the bypass covers around 18 hectares whose current use is predominantly agricultural, and the compulsory purchase order covers 17 hectares which we still need to acquire to build the road.
“Congestion has been an issue in Broughton village for the last 40 years and there is a strong case for the road, which will also bring benefits in terms of traffic, noise, pollution and our economy as Preston continues to grow in the future.”
Objectors to the bypass cite the destruction of countryside to the east of the A6 and the carriageway’s close proximity to the village’s historic church and primary school.
Experts estimate the road will reduce traffic through the village by 90 per cent.