Traffic disruption fears as plans revealed for roadworks at Ikea site
The idea of low-cost flatpack furniture and Swedish meatballs has been enthusiastically welcomed by Lancashire folk.
But the new Ikea and the surrounding homes and businesses and the Cuerden Strategic Site may come at a price - a lengthy programme of roadworks.
The developers behind the plan – said to create 4,500 jobs – have unveiled details of the road improvements necessary for the site.
Six junctions in the Bamber Bridge area will need work, including creating an extra lane on the A6/A49 roundabout and new signals on the M65 terminus roundabout.
If planning permission is granted for the site, it could mean commuters entering Preston from the south could face months of delays – and roadworks on the Pope Lane approach have already overrun by several months.
People living near the site have raised serious concerns about traffic in the area, including at a special public meeting this week.
Around 100 people attended the event at St Catherine’s Hospice to hear full details of the changes.
But afterwards John Jones of campaign group Limit Cuerden criticised the new designs saying there were still major concerns over the impact on traffic flow.
He said: “It’s piecemeal adjustments. It’s not going to make much difference.
“People were saying they’re just not listening. It needs to be right and it’s not right yet. They need to go away and have a radical rethink.”
Lancashire Post readers had a mixed response to the details of the works.
Lesley Anne said: “Why cant they just open Ikea in the old LEP building in Fulwood? Yes, it will take some work to change the format but they obviously have the cash to do it.
“No more major road works, no major disruption to be caused, the land is already building land and it saves some of our green land ... It does sound to be true I agree, but surely it could be looked into?”
Lindsay Catterall posted: “Surely there is some brownfield land suitable, rather than eating up more and more greenbelt?”
But Pauline Thomas commented: “To be honest these junctions need looking at anyway as they are a mess, so may as well sort it and worth it for the jobs and having Ikea.”
The Cuerden Strategic Site has been hailed as a “once in a generation” opportunity to create 4,500 jobs, provide new commercial space and bring big players such as Ikea to the area.
Lancashire County Council has joined with Eric Wright Construction, the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal and the Brookhouse Group to deliver the development which will go to South Ribble’s planning committee for a decision in the autumn.
A spokesman for the development said the new proposals were intended to bring “further improvements to transport and connectivity, landscaping and design” and added: “We’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to attend. Some very useful feedback was provided. Updated plans are available on the website, www.thisiscuerden.co.uk and we’d encourage the community to give us their thoughts. ”
County Coun Michael Green said: “The scheme overall is positive, but we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t cause a massive problem for the highways network in South Ribble.”