Roads report full of errors and gaps
Well done the Mercury for lifting the lid on the £78 million cost of roads and transport infrastructure that will be required to service the 10,756 houses Charnwood Borough Council says it needs to build across the borough between now and 2028 ("Tens of millions will be needed to pay for roads", Mercury, February 19).
The concern of Barkby and Barkby Thorpe Parishes Action Group (Babtag) in this matter is the proposed 4,500 houses of the Thurmaston SUE (sustainable urban extension).
So let me tell you what is in store for the existing inhabitants of Barkby, Thurmaston, Syston and the northern border of Leicester if this Transport Assessment 2013, so quietly slipped into the public domain by the council 11 days before the Mercury article exposed it, is accepted without challenge.
New roads are seen as the only real way of avoiding gridlock.
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There is to be a new spine road through the proposed development, with links to the A607 just north of the Asda roundabout and to Troon Way via Sandhills Avenue, at a cost of £26.5 million, also the dualling and other work in Troon Way (£4 million) and major work at most key junctions in the area. Overall, the cost just in our small part of south Charnwood is more than £37 million.
The Charnwood-wide cost per house for these transport measures is £7,132.
Assuming the developers have to pick up the house levy, it will cost them £31 million on top of the cost of building the 4,500 homes and paying for such amenities as schools and clinics.
One longs to know how happy they are about this and when they would be prepared to pay up.
No building can start on the site until the spine road is built, so presumably the developers will be asked to put this money up-front.
These traffic measures seem to start from the assumption that the present situation is acceptable.
Tell that to the villager trying to cross the road in Barkby, the motorist negotiating the Asda roundabout or snarled up in traffic in Troon Way.
The assessment claims there will be some amelioration through its new roads and improvement measures, but Babtag remains sceptical and for this reason has engaged professional transport consultants to test the credibility of the report. Their findings are expected shortly.
Babtag has already spotted errors in the report and pointed them out to the council.
There is also a lack of detail. When challenged about possible house demolitions and loss of Roundhill School playing fields through the routing of the link road to the A607, the council said issues such as this come later in the planning process.
A similar argument is deployed over the lack of detailed traffic figures for specific roads and junctions.
Could it be that while across the whole of Charnwood 100 per cent traffic mitigation is achieved the local figures, when they are made available, will tell a different story?
In view of the mammoth road-building costs of this project, the underplaying of existing and future congestion and the lack of detail, Babtag, from its initial reading, is far from convinced that this traffic assessment advances the case for building 4,500 houses on much-valued, productive countryside.
Owen Bentley, chairman, Babtag.