Removing the Broughton crossroads traffic lights as part of a £1million plan has drawn criticism from villagers.Advertisement
Lancashire County Council is pushing ahead with major changes to the roads in Broughton once the nearby Broughton Bypass is complete.
With traffic through the village set to fall dramatically with the completion of the bypass in 2017 the council has a pot of money to spend on highways improvements.
However at two consultation events in March and December the proposals to remove traffic lights at where the A6 meets Whittingham Lane, the Broughton crossroads, has caused concern.
A report to the cabinet member for highways, councillor John Fillis, states ‘the majority of respondents were very concerned that the removal of the traffic lights would negatively impact on traffic flows in all directions’ and ‘the removal of the traffic lights could also impact negatively on access onto the A6 at Barton as traffic would flow continously.”
It goes on to defend the removal of the traffic lights saying ‘the design exercise has very carefully considered the interaction of motorised and non-motorised traffic at the crossroads and has been able to drawn on current examples of public realm treatment and shared space at Fishergate and elsewhere.
‘Key to the changes at the junction is the removal of a considerable volume of traffic travelling through the crossroads along the A6 each day, but also traffic using the crossroads from the east along Whittingham Lane.
‘This enables the removal of traffic signals, narrowing of the carriageway, the build out of kerb lines and larger footways, and a change to the highway surface treatment.
‘Approaching the crossroads from all four directions, all modal users will have already encountered a reduction in speed limit to 20mph and a very different environment in terms of carriageway appearance and footway surface treatment.
‘These features introduce a change in behaviour and traffic priority to the user leading into the junction, emphasising a central village area. The crossing points and surface treatment on the junction serve to reinforce that no one mode or direction of travel has priority over another.’
Other proposals for Broughton, which have been approved by county councillor Fillis, include:
– Adding a bus lay-by to the north of the village, removing the current one
– Sat nav signs to inform motorists of the new bypass
– A dedicated cycle way in both directions, no longer having a ‘shared space’ for cyclists and pedestrians
– Better access to and from the Guild Wheel at Broughton
– A stretch of 20mph to the north and south of the village, and along part of Whittingham Lane
Related: Watch route the Broughton bypass will take
Funding for the changes to Broughton, which would only begin once the bypass is complete, comes from the City Deal – a £430m investment in housing and roads in Preston and South Ribble.
Preston Rural North councillor Thomas Davies, who represents the Broughton area, said the lights should be kept.
He said: “As a former traffic police officer who dealt with several accident at the cross road I feel it could be very dangerous to take away the traffic lights.
“Unlike the new Fishergate which is open with a good view Broughton cross roads is a blind junction and should be governed. The bypass will make some difference but the danger will still be there at the cross roads junction.”
Preston Rural county councillor George Wilkins said: “I like many others, visited the consultation day. I did notice the absence of lights. I was reassured by officers that the volume of traffic would be so light,and the traffic calming works so restricting that lights would not be needed.
“Since then on further consultation I commented of local HGV vehicles using the old A6, and in reply I was assured the owners might be helped to reroute their vehicles.”
Rural East ward councillor Neil Cartwright said: “This investment in Broughton Village will be widely welcomed following the removal of a significant proportion of traffic when the By Pass opens. Garstang Road has to remain open for local traffic and traffic to/from Woodplumpton but it is essential that the design of the A6 corridor discourages motorists who have no need to use the road through the village.
“It is understood that removing the traffic lights is part of this but there are some concerns, which I share, about removing them; I have asked that if County insist on removing the lights the equipment is not completely removed allowing them to be reinstated if it proves necessary.”
Broughton Parish Council chairwoman Pat Hastings said the improvement works were due to be discussed at the next parish council meeting on Tuesday 5 April, and they would comment after the meeting.
Although the plans have been approved by county cllr Fillis they could still be called in, although if not they come into force from Friday 1 April and allow the county council to submit a planning application to its development control committee.
You can see the full plans for Broughton’s highway changes on the county council website.
What do you think about the traffic lights being removed? Do you live in the area? Let us know your views in the comments below