A major new road to the west of Preston is moving forward as Lancashire County Council prepare to confirm and begin buying up its route.Advertisement
The Preston Western Distributor would be a 4 kilometre long dual carriageway going from a new M55 junction down to Preston’s Docklands and the A583.
Two new link roads are also included in the multi-million pound plan, one an East-West link road driving deep into the heart of Fulwood and a smaller link road for access to a new railway station at Cottam.
The county council’s executive scrutiny committee are set to review the proposed route on Tuesday 4 November and the result of a major consultation of local residents.
Nearly 500 Prestonians from the area surrounding the proposed road gave their views on the proposed route and raised their concerns about the environmental impact of a new road.
Funding for the road, which is due to cost around £109 million, excluding the two link roads, is coming from the £434 million City Deal which sees major infrastructure projects happening across Preston and South Ribble.
Phill Wilson, project manager for the City Deal delivery team, said: “The Preston Western Distributor is vital to deliver the jobs and investment outlined in the City Deal by ensuring the city’s road network has the capacity to support new housing and business development.
“The Highways and Transport Masterplan for central Lancashire recognises that the existing transport network serving Preston and the wider area is becoming increasingly congested.
“We’re already working to improve the capacity of our existing roads and make it easier for people to walk, cycle and use public transport, but this alone will not allow for future investment and growth in traffic, which means we also need new roads.”
The Western Distributor is due to unlock the potential for a new River Ribble crossing beyond the Docks and is vital for any new housing which could be built in the North West corner of Preston. Up to 5,500 homes could be built bordering Cottam, Fulwood and Woodplumpton under the Garden City masterplan.
Consultation showed local residents are split on the new road, with nearly 50 per cent indicating support for the plan with the other half raising concerns or issues.
A major concern raised in the consultation was over noise and pollution from the road and the extensive construction works.
Two householders responding to the county council survey said they had already put their houses on the market fearing a dip in property prices caused by the road.
Mr Wilson said: “We’re very grateful for the responses to the consultation. A large number of them raised concerns or sought assurances over the timing and potential impact of the construction of the roads, and the traffic conditions that would follow.
“We’ll give full consideration to these issues, and hold further consultation, as detailed designs for the roads, and environmental mitigation measures, are developed to support a future planning application.
“However, our preferred route is the one we’ve assessed as making the least impact on existing infrastructure and the environment and, at this still early stage, we’re simply seeking to protect it from development which may impede future progress.”
Councillor John Swindells, deputy leader of Preston City Council, said: “The City Deal is a once in a generation opportunity to provide the infrastructure we need to allow Preston to grow in a sustainable way without causing gridlock on our roads.
“The Preston Western Distributor and associated link roads are key to delivering the thousands of new jobs and homes promised by the City Deal on the strategic sites identified in our Local Plan.”
The next step is for the cabinet member for highways and transport, county councillor John Fillis, to make a decision on the route on Tuesday 11 November. This then allows the county to start protecting the proposed route from any developments.
You can see the full report on the consultation on the county council website.
Did you give your feedback to the county council on the road? Do you live in the area? What do you think of the proposed route? Let us know in the comments below