Monday, 7 May 2012

Labour - Fighting for a Bardon Relief Road

When North West Leicestershire District Council's Core Strategy was approved last month I highlighted in the council chamber many problems with it.

To name but a few there are issues with housing in Ashby, in Ibstock and in sustainable villages and there a problems with the allocation of industrial land not least around a strategic rail hub to the north of the district.

But one of the largest ommissions from the plan was the dropping of a Bardon Relief Road in Coalville, not only to accommodate existing traffic flow approaching the town from Leicester and the M1 but to compensate for the large-scale additional housing expected to be built in our town over the next 20 years - effectively a development roughly the size of Ashby.

If the Core Strategy is approved by the Secretary of State a lack of a relief road will be severely damaging to the town.

Residents of Bardon Road and Greenhill are terrified of the safety implications to children and older people.

Residents of Hugglescote and Ellistown are frightened about the massive build up of traffic on Grange Road and Beveridge Lane.

At the same time dropping the relief road may well actually be damaging to the towns economy, negating many of the benefits that major new residential developments may bring.

Labour Party Councillors throughout Coalville are calling for the reinstatement of a Bardon Relief Road during the formal consultation period of the Core Strategy and are campaigning throughout the town over the coming weeks, collecting petition signatures, and demanding change.

Labour's spokesman for Transport, Councillor Dave De Lacy, encapsulated the problem so succinctly when he recently said:

"According to the Core Strategy there are at least 4500 dwellings planned to be built in the vicinity of Bardon Road over the next 20 years... How can the roads in their present state cope with this amount of development? The decision to abandon Bardon Relief Road must be reversed before it is too late."

If you want to get involved in the campaign to reinstate the Bardon Relief Road you can sign the e-petition by clicking here.

It is so important we take action now to fight for a relief road. Our actions will have implications for generations to come.

9 comments:

  1. "severely damaging to the town"

    It is the Parking Charges that are doing that.
    The council and its councilors needs to put their hands up and say “we made a mistake” and put a stop to this lunacy

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  2. I can't agree more that action needs to be taken on parking charges.

    It is for that exact reason that Labour put forward fully costed proposals to introduce free parking for the first hour in this years budget. Unfortunately this initiative was voted down by Conservative councillors.

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  3. Dear Mr Spence, 'Anonymous' and all,

    From what I have heard of late as far as fabulous redevelopment and road building is concerned, there is to be a wonderful new bypass cut straight through the village of Hugglescote, including the removal of our village hall to make room for this road. Is it not bad enough that we must suffer the constant building of houses across our farm land without these additional roads?

    I have lived in this village since birth and nigh on have seen very few improving changes in that time. However, two of the few fine things here are the rejuvenation of St John's Community Centre and the creation of Kelham Bridge Nature Reserve, just downstream from our own land. These two things are both being destroyed by the 'Improvements' proposed for my village. I realise that at this point the cry will come that Kelham Bridge shall not be touched, however there are fields not far from this site in Donnington le Heath that are to be built upon, and there is naught to be done by we people that live here.

    Yester-eve I was cycling back through Donnington le Heath when I was greeted by a group of excited children querying the identity of a particular creature that they had found by the very fields that are to be built upon. The beast in question was a newt, which last time I heard were protected fauna, and yet it seems that when one’s councillors are middle-aged unscrupulous men that dwell in houses far from any new developments the unfortunate slaughter of protected fauna is fine.

    Needless to say, it seems to be the unfortunate truth that our 'village' is now connected to Coalville and will soon be indistinguishable from the aforementioned town and the neighbouring areas of Ravenstone and Snibston.

    I wonder whether perhaps the honourable 'Anonymous' above who seems so concerned about the peurile parking issue, Mr Spense and the entire cast of assuredly incompetent representatives that we, the poorly governed people, seem to daily suffer, might take a moment to consider that perhaps these additional roads and housing developments aren't necessary. A house can generally hold four or five persons quite comfortably. If we are short of housing, perhaps more persons might live with their parents until they have started a family or rent a flat, or house share as people used to do in the 1920s. As far as roads are concerned, might I recommend that if you are having trouble with congestion when driving or with parking, as 'Anonymous' has found, you stop using your cars and catch buses perhaps or root out the bicycle from the cupboard under the stairs? If you are really struggling with having to rely on exercise or figuring out bus timetables you could always car share.

    Yes, you may say that it's easier said than done, but actually, no, no it isn't. In the time I have been writing this I could have cycled into Coalville and back perfectly happily, and that includes putting on shoes, so might I recommend giving it a try some day.

    I hope that you do not find this brief note of slight dissatisfaction to be irrelevant to what you are saying or to be targeted angrily in your direction Mr Spense (or yours 'Anonymous'), for this not my intention at all. I merely wish to let you know that we are not terribly happy and yet once again the delightful persons that claim to be our voices speak only with the greed and selfishness of the unaffected observer.

    I humbly remain, most sincerely yours,

    Mr Georgie Lorimer
    (the unvoiced men)



    For those that know little of it, below is a web address for Kelham Bridge:

    http://www.lrwt.org.uk/nature-reserves/kelham-bridge/

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    1. Mr Lorimer, thank you so much for your comment.

      As, over the years family units have changed and population has increased undoubtedly a need for more housing throughout the whole country has developed.

      North West Leicestershire has been affected by that demand in the same way as virtually all other areas and we are now faced with tough decisions about numbers of houses and the location of where we put it.

      As a Labour group we have long held the view that housing should be placed near to major employment areas and wherever possible be located on brownfield sites.

      It is, however, likely that significant housing developments will need to be built on previously undeveloped areas.

      Clearly development around Coalville will be included in the Councils emerging core strategy, whether that be on the Whitwick 'Green Wedge', around Bardon / Hugglescote and Ellistown or on another site.

      Currently the core strategy includes no significant infrastructure improvements to roads to cope with the demand of new housing and at this moment in time significant development of the Hugglescote crossroads is being seen as a potential mitigating action. I find this totally unacceptable.

      Labour insist that IF new housing development takes place around Coalville a brand new relief road emanating from Bardon is an absolute pre-requisite.

      We will continue to demand such a relief road and battle for it to be included in the core strategy. I fervently hope that the Conservative administration will listen.

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  4. Mr Spence.
    What rubbish.
    You have several issues a little skewed. Firstly the building of a Bardon Relief Road will do absolutely nothing to improve traffic flow. If you bothered to look at the data you will quite clearly find that Bardon Road does not present a traffic restriction. The bottle necks are starting with the worst first, Broom Leys Road and Stephensons Way junction then equally the other junctions starting at Morrisons and ending at Hoo Ash.
    What a Bardon Relief road would give is relief. Relief for the residents of Bardon Road to the constant traffic passing their homes. Relief for the residents of Bardon Road from high levels of pollution and relief from a very unsafe situation for them and their families. But sadly no flow improvements. Which is why the County Council Highways cannot support it, it's a financial thing. Sadly not a people thing or quality of life thing.
    Now as we all know this (and the last) Government is in favour of 'sustainable' development. Now as you rightly point out homes should be built where the jobs are. If you read the Core Strategy you may have seen the data that proves there is a huge exodus from the Coalville Urban area every morning, an exodus that gets larger with time. The new housing is for commuters (a fact accepted by Messrs Pendleton and all). Unemployment is growing. Yet we have Castle Donington, a place where the data shows there is a huge influx of workers every day, with talk of another 6,000 jobs in the making.
    So why an earth are we building 51% of all NWL new Homes in one Parish? Hugglescote and Donington Le Heath.
    The majority of new homes should go to Castle Donington where the jobs are.

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    1. Thanks for your comment.

      It is very clear that professional advice from highways engineers suggests that there is no case for a Bardon Relief Road.

      I have no doubt that local people feel very differently for the reasons you state.

      At the core strategy meeting I questioned officers as to the methodology used to arrive at their conclusion, particularly asking whether any impact assessment had been carried out on the risks to pedestrians. The answers I received, I believe, did not justify the omission of a Bardon Relief Road from the core strategy.

      I do completely agree that there are significant traffic pinch points at the locations you mention (and quite probably do need re-engineering) but it must be remembered that those locations are part of bypass.

      Bardon Road is a built up and traffic calmed area. It is essential in my view that a relief road is specified in the core strategy to alleviate the already dangerous overuse of this road.

      Very simply put I do not believe that if several thousand homes are built in the Coalville area Bardon Road will be able to cope with traffic at peak times.

      I also have a great deal of sympathy with your view that more housing should be located in Castle Donington.

      Labour has maintained that development should take place adjacent to areas of employment. This, in my view, includes allocating a greater number of homes around Castle Donington. As a group we stipulated this during the Councils survey on the core strategy last year and will do so in our formal response to the consultation in the coming weeks.

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  5. I thought it was Labour that introduced the hated car parking charges when they were in power. Something which saw a 25% reduction in takings in Town Centre shops.
    Good move eh Leon?

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    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I have no doubt that the introduction of parking charges has been a factor on the economic downturn affecting Coalville alongside many others such as the worldwide recession, a massive growth in internet and out of town retail parks, and increasing rents and business rates.

      Labour introduced parking charges in 2004 out of, what the then administration, believed to be economic necessity. At that time both Conservative and Lib Dem Councillors called for charging to be extended not only to Coalville and Ashby but to all council owned car parks throughout the district.

      I should also add that given the ongoing recession it was Labour, in this years budget, that proposed a costed option to reintroduce 'first hour free' parking. I was personally very disappointed that Conservative and Lib Dem members voted against our proposal.

      I continue to believe our council should be reintroducing at least 'first hour free' parking and will continue to push for it.

      Let me be clear 'first hour free' wouldn't be the panacea to all of Coalvilles problems but it would be a significant step in the right direction.

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