A business chief has fired a broadside at Warrington Council’s proposed town centre highway improvements, which are currently out for consultation, believing the proposals will do nothing to improve traffic flow.
Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Colin Daniels says Chamber members have already been in touch complaining about the proposals – claiming that council officers are “not in listening mode” and when challenged “admit to not living in Warrington.”
In a letter to Mr Broomhead Mr Daniels (pictured) said: “The town centre traffic proposals on which the council is currently consulting has already drawn a total negative response from many chamber members. Their considered view is that what you propose will do absolutely nothing to improve traffic flow and will yet again make matters worse.
“You need to remember that your traffic/highway planners do not have the best of reputations.
“Those chamber members who have contacted us make the charge that your officers are not in listening mode and to make matters worse, when challenged some officers admit to not living in Warrington.
“I have no doubt the council will adopt its normal attitude of we know best aka the removal of the Asda traffic island on Cromwell Avenue replaced by traffic lights at a cost of £1million plus, there by creating a problem where non existed, and your road markings at Bridgefoot which continue to create problems to name but two.
“The council needs to realise that its dash for new houses/apartments in Warrington will create even more traffic problems and one could see the towns traffic grinding to halt on a regular basis on a road system not built for the 21st Century, not withstanding any problems that your traffic planners have created and not forgetting the motorway network and its occasional hiccup.
In a response a council spokesman said: “An extensive programme of transport improvements is underway in and around Warrington, and we are listening to residents and local businesses alike as we aim to deliver the improvements they deserve and that Warrington needs.
“We are making progress against two key priorities: relieving congestion in and around the town centre, and tackling congestion and improving transportation in west and east Warrington.
“With support from a range of partners, including the local business community, we have been successful in attracting investment worth millions towards four major transport schemes: Warrington East Phase 1 – Birchwood Pinchpoint; M62 Junction 8; Warrington West Station and the Centre Park Link.
“We are actively consulting throughout December on the proposed Centre Park Link and more than one thousand people have attended roadshows to find out more and have their say.
“The link would see the creation of a southbound link from Wilson Patten Street to Chester Road via a new road bridge over the River Mersey to reduce southbound traffic and pressure through Bridgefoot Gyratory.
“Proposals for a new bridge are complemented by alterations to town centre traffic routing to promote the use of the new link and seek to relieve the town of its enduring congestion problems.
“Centre Park Link provides us with a great opportunity to start to resolve long-standing traffic issues in the south of Warrington and promote the future growth of our considerable but underutilised waterfront area. I am really pleased to learn that some many people have already responded to the consultation. Residents and businesses can find out more and have their say at centreparklink.co.uk where they can complete an on-line questionnaire or send feedback by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
“We appreciate the comments of the Chamber of Commerce which will form part of the consultation exercise. The consultation lasts until Friday 8th January and we would urge everyone to have their say on the proposals.
“In Birchwood, major highway and public transport improvements are due for completion by the end of March, and improvements at the rail station are also nearing completion.
“The Warrington West rail station scheme is progressing well and we have now begun to look too at the reconstruction of Bank Quay to accommodate high speed trains.
“We have also entered into detailed discussions with the government on our proposals for a major new highway with new high level bridge over the Ship Canal to help relieve the problems of Bridge Swings and further tackle congestion in the heart of our town and open up the Warrington Waterfront area for redevelopment.
“Add in forthcoming work planned by Highways England on the M62, M6 and M56 around Warrington, improvements to bus access to the town centre, cycleway improvement schemes, £40million road re-surfacing and £30m street lighting investment, and it’s clear that we are heading in the right direction.”