Cuerden plans including a flagship IKEA store look set to be delayed due to highways issues.Advertisement
Highways England have said that ‘fundamental issues’ remain about how the road layout around the site would operate.
South Ribble Borough Council is currently consulting on the Lancashire County Council backed plans.
The government highways agency, responsible for the motorway network which will adjoin the site, had already requested an extension on the consultation deadline to 9 May. It now wants to determining of the planning application – which would see a major new retail and housing development just off the M65 – pushed back to ‘at least the 9 August’.
In an email from Assistant asset manager Warren Hilton he states: “Further to our email below of 9th February 2017, we note that fundamental issues have been uncovered by Lancashire County Council highways regarding the Transport Assessment for this site, which warrants production of a new Transport Assessment. In addition, we have reviewed the existing Transport Assessment and VISSIM model [a software simulation of traffic flows] and raised concerns with the applicants during recent discussions with them.
“Consequently, until a new Transport assessment and revised VISSIM model are available for us to review, Highways England remains unable to form a view on this application. Consequently, the attachment response Notice from us formally recommends that the hold upon the determination of this application is extended until at least 9th August 2017.”
Read more: Cuerden plans go on display as IKEA reveal more
The Cuerden development would have two access points and relies on the A582 being dual carriageway – work that is currently ongoing.
The county council says the development on the land near Lostock Hall would create 4,000 jobs.
Campaigner John Jones from Limit Cuerden said he was pleased his concerns regarding the levels of traffic at the site.
He said: “It’s obviously welcome news that someone has finally recognised that the highways plans for this scheme are totally inadequate.
“We are glad the road network will be completely reassessed. Anyone unfortunate enough to use Lostock Lane, the end of the M65 and the roundabouts near Sainsbury’s and the War Memorial will know how congested the roads are currently. Can you imagine the impact Ikea, shops, warehouses and hundreds of homes will have?
“We hope the new study will also take into account plans for thousands of homes on the old Moss Side Test Track and at the Pickerings in Lostock Hall. The solution for the roads is not an easy one, but needs to be radical, or South Ribble won’t be one of the best places to live in the UK, but a gridlocked nightmare to be avoided.”
Read more: We need to talk about South Ribble being best place to live
A spokeswoman for the applicants Lancashire County Council and the Eric Wright Group said: “The Cuerden development proposals will see a multimillion pound investment being made into the local highway network. Highways England have issued a holding response which enables them to have more time to conclude their rigorous and robust assessment of the Cuerden planning application.
“This is a standard approach from Highways England and the developer’s transport consultants are working closely with them and Lancashire County Council’s Highways team on this. We are confident that all remaining points will be addressed to enable Highways England to lift this holding direction.”
The full plans for Cuerden can be seen on the borough council website and comments can be left there.
South Ribble Borough Council Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Housing councillor Cliff Hughes said: “A date is not yet fixed for the Cuerden Strategic Site application to be considered by the planning committee.
“As the planning authority, we consider all aspects of planning applications before a decision is made.
“We will work with stakeholders to ensure any issues identified are resolved to the satisfaction of statutory consultees and the highways authority.”
What do you make of the comments by Highways England? How do you feel about Cuerden? Let us know in the comments below