The £100m backlash - highways chiefs told the '˜think again' about bypass

Highways England chiefs have been told to '˜think again' as proposals for a massive new bypass went on display.

Saturday, 17th September 2016, 11:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:04 pm
A585 Windy Harbour to Skippool plans on display

And roads bosses have revealed the final cost of the scheme, aimed at alleviating jams between Windy Harbour and Poulton on the A585, could be as high as £100m.

Two proposals are on the table, a revamp of the existing road network and a huge new dual carriageway which would take traffic away from Mains Lane and Garstang Road.

But concerns have been raised that neither scheme would end tailbacks between Thornton, Fleetwood, Poulton and the motorway network.

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Chris Hardie is the Programme Manager for Highways England.

He insists the scheme will deliver benefits are part of a wider investment across the North West.

Mr Hardie said: “ The prefered option will take the traffic off local roads.

“It will bring benefits in terms of noise, pollution and environment.

“There is annecdotal evidence residents find it very hard to cross the road.

“What we must not lose sight of is that the local benefit will benefit the wider area too.

“The Government has a growth agenda and the belief is that this scheme will attract jobs and investment into the area.”

The bypass option could have a price tag as high as £100m.

And Mr Hardie accepts there will be some people directly impacted by the scheme.

He said: “With every scheme we know there are people who will be affected.

“But our responsibility is strategic and stretches beyond local consideration.

“We try our best to strike a balance and want to take people’s views onboard.”

Concerns had been raised that the proposed scheme would not solve issues with traffic between Windy Harbour and the M55.

But Mr Hardie insists it will bring benefits.

He said: “With every scheme you have to draw a boundary, there has to be a point at which you stop.

“We believe this scheme will deliver benefits for local people and for the region.

“One thing we are clear about is that this is a very real proposal, it will happen.”

Mr Hardie also moved to distance the scheme from the previously proposed Blue Route, linking Garstang Road to the M55.

He said: “There is a fixation with the Blue Route.

“I can understand it but it distracts from our responsibilities.

“It is up to other authorities to pursue that, although a small section is contained in these plans.”

Residents in Singleton were given a first glimpse of the plans yesterday.

And those living closest to the route were not impressed.

Mark Clifford, 56, lives in Lodge Lane with partner Elizabeth Goldbraith.

He said: “This is going to run right past us.

“We heard nothing about it until the plans were suddenly revealed.

“It’s like nobody wanted to know.

“We moved to the country to be away from the roads and the noise and this will be right in our back yard, a huge cutting.

“The video they put out didn’t show any houses on Lodge Lane.

“If somebody could come here, stand with us, look at the traffic and explain how the changes will be beneficial then great.

“I’m not against development, but we feel nobody has thought of the consequences.”

Barbara Hargreaves is another Lodge Lane resident.

She said: “This will be right outside my front door.

“You’re not talking about a little road, it’s a huge dual carriageway. But it’s a dual carriageway with single carriageway roads at either end.

“It’s not going to solve the problem.

“Plus you’re going to have traffic for Mains Lane and Over Wyre cutting through the village.

“Singleton is going to be over-run.

“They need to go away and think again.”

John Bailie, from Poulton, is a long standing roads campaigner.

He said: “It just doesn’t make sense.

“This will cause a huge amount of disruption and impact on people’s lives for absolutely no benefit.

“This is nothing more than a sticking plaster.”

Lucia House, 60, lives on the main road through Greenhalgh.

She said: “This bypass does nothing about the problems further down the A585.

“We already have a constant stream of traffic past our front door.

“That is only going to get worse.”

“The problem isn’t one part of the A585, it’s the whole thing.”