MORE than 1,000 residents have signed a protest petition opposing the Central 6 proposals set to come into force at Westy on Monday with plans for another peaceful protest – this time at Warrington Parr Hall on Monday evening ahead of Full Council.
Many local residents and businesses claim they knew nothing about the proposals which they believe will make traffic conditions worse in their area and now local campaigners are urging them to rally at the Parr Hall on Monday at 5:30 pm for another peaceful protest.
Local campaigner Jayne Savage said: Everyone needs to sign this petition on the Central 6 plan and everyone needs to attend the council meeting at the Parr Hall on Monday the 20th. We have to show them we are united on this. This involves the whole of Warrington.
“Whilst the plans as a whole have been put on hold, the changes for Latchford and Westy are to be put in place on Sunday night coming.
“The impact on the village as a whole will be an increase of traffic through the one-way system, causing issues for anyone trying to exit residential roads. The traffic in areas around the schools will increase.
“The infrastructure needed is not in place – there are no safe bike lanes, there are no reliable/affordable bus services our roads are narrow and street parking is always an issue.
Warrington will continue to be used by anyone avoiding the Motorways, Viaduct, Runcorn Bridge, The Mersey, Ship canal and the Bridgewater meaning that all that traffic is funnelled through residential areas.
“Why should we residents be made to pay the cost for these issues that are beyond our control.
“Our safety when walking anywhere is not guaranteed, underfunded lighting and policing, narrow pavements, and lack of crossing, make our walkways and parks dangerous. These all need fixing first. With the cost of living and fuel rising, these changes will impact us all.
“The people were not consulted in a way that was conclusively in favour of these changes, and in fact, it’s been very obvious that the majority do not agree.”
Jayne added: “Obviously we are very emotional about it, I’ve never felt so unheard and out of control. I chose to live here, the way it is. Now I feel caged, my rights removed. Central 6 was not done in my name!
Meanwhile, another local resident Steph Jones added: “As a single mum, teacher, and business owner with my own personal battles to deal with, I wasn’t planning on being such a lead active part in the Latchford & Westy campaign.
“However, I couldn’t stand by and watch the area become dangerous for our children, especially with two local schools, a nursery and a children’s centre in the mix; putting the emergency services under even more pressure, especially with the ambulance station so close by. It will create more pollution on both Kingsway and Knutsford Road and more traffic converging onto tiny streets, such as Henshall and Broadbent, not built for this type of traffic and have residents essentially trapped in their streets.
“If the bigger roads need something doing then look at speed bumps and chicanes or stop large goods vehicles travelling down them. Not to mention what will happen once there’s a crash on any of the motorways or the swing bridges go off – one that is due to close for 9 months next year.
“The excuse of getting more people walking or cycling doesn’t apply when many who live in Warrington commute via the motorways to work. We do not live in a city. We do not have an underground.”
Residents are also concerned that the Cheshire Cheese end of Grange Ave will now only have one exit, that’s Reynolds, Griffiths, Rock road and Longdin. If there is an accident on the one way near the garage, traffic will be totally hemmed in.
Meanwhile, people living blue area – whilst they have 3 exits, they are all onto Kingsway south which becomes a “carpark” when the motorway or bridge is an issue!
Rachael Harper, who organised last Monday’s protest at the town hall said: “We look forward to showing our support for the Westy area of Warrington in opposition to the central 6 street plan on Monday. While we appreciate and celebrate the delay in Orford; we did ask for the WHOLE scheme to be paused. We realise that the council think LTNs are a good idea (backed by the government) and want to show people the benefits by pushing it ahead in the Westy area.
“However, the fact remains they did not engage enough people in the consultation process to justify this decision. Only 20 people in the Westy area had their say on the street plans (not including numbers that weren’t released from the events) and that is concerning considering Westy has over 3000 residents.
“That doesn’t include surrounding areas that will be affected such as Stockton Heath and the whole of Latchford. A particular concern for residents is how this will work if the Cantilever bridge gets closed for forthcoming repairs, considering the high volume of traffic in the area, particularly if it coincides with any motorway issues.
“This campaign has never just been about the people of Orford. At the very centre of it we’re fighting for democracy and equality, across the whole of Warrington. In that we remain united and we definitely think it’s something worth fighting for!”
Opposition Tories are also opposing the central 6 plans for Westy.
Cllr. Wendy Maisey said: “Conservative Councillors have already tabled a motion for next Monday’s Full Council Meeting calling for both the Orford and Westy Schemes to be paused immediately. Labour may have finally seen sense in Orford, but given the clear failure in consultation, Westy residents are left with no confidence that their Scheme is any better planned.
“The Conservative Group will therefore continue to put the case for Westy, where residents do not want to be subjected to an 18-month experiment without a proper say.”
Meanwhile in his open letter addressing residents’ concerns Warrington Borough Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: “After carefully considering feedback we have received over the last couple of weeks, we have come to the conclusion that while we will proceed as planned with the Westy scheme, it is only right to pause our plans for Orford, to reflect on the feedback we have received.
“Considering Westy, we have a smaller scheme, across a smaller footprint, and we are confident we will be able to address some longstanding traffic issues in this neighbourhood. As we have always said, however, we will continue to listen to feedback and this LTN will be for a maximum trial period of 18 months, unless the data clearly shows that the scheme is working.”