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Preston roads won’t benefit from HS2 northern leg being scrapped

Posted on - 16th April, 2024 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, Roads, Transport
County Hall in Preston. Pic: Blog Preston
County Hall in Preston. Pic: Blog Preston

None of the additional road maintenance funding that has so far been handed to Lancashire – from the money saved by scrapping the northern leg of the HS2 rail link to Manchester – will be spent on resurfacing in Preston or Chorley.

The districts are two of just three in the county that will not benefit from any of the 22 surface improvement projects that have been drawn up after Lancashire County Council received £7.2m from the pothole-filling cash pot created as part of the government’s plans to redistribute unspent HS2 cash. It will be used to fund transport projects across the north of England under the banner “Network North”.

The highway money has been allocated in two equal tranches for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years. One resurfacing scheme will be carried out in South Ribble, two in each of Wyre and Fylde, and four in West Lancashire.

Read more: ‘Another Buckshaw Village’ not viable for Chorley housebuilding headache

However, Preston and Chorley will each see four major resurfacing projects undertaken over the next year, which are amongst the 88 County Hall has planned across Lancashire – totalling £15.2 – and funded from its ordinary highway maintenance budget. The pair may also be in line for drainage works or streetlight upgrades paid for by the HS2 cash.

As the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) revealed last month, the authority has opted to invest £1.8m of the Network North money received for the year ahead into its Local Deterioration Fund (LDF), which aims to tackle problem spots highlighted by county councillors, along with those defects that require regular visits to carry out repeated repairs.

Priorities for the fund – which finances only small-scale schemes – are also determined by the number of potholes in close proximity to each other, the cost of compensation claims arising from the faults and the significance of the route where they have appeared.

Unlike the larger projects, the details of individual LDF schemes are not usually published. However, the conditions attached to the government’s redirected HS2 cash means the locations for the lower-level works funded by that money have also now been laid out.

County councillors on the authority’s environment, economic growth and transport scrutiny committee last month called for more of a say in how road repair cash is spent, with one saying they were being made to look “stupid” because they could not get the pothole priorities of residents acted upon. They were advised by County Hall highways officers that the LDF was their vehicle for doing so – but also heard that the pot was almost ten times oversubscribed.

The LDRS understands that work on all bar one of the schemes to be financed by the cash received for 2023/24 – which was not allocated until late last year – has yet to start. Those projects – for which £836,000 was pumped into the LDF – will be completed during 2024/25, together with the others funded by the money received for the current year.

Of the £7.2m redistributed HS2 funding to have come Lancashire’s way to date, £2.7m has gone into the LDF – almost doubling the amount already allocated to it from ordinary funding for 2024/25. The remainder of the HS2 money so far received will be spent on drainage works (£2.4m), new streetlight columns (£1.2m), lining projects (£1m) and roundabout resurfacing (£50K).

It completes a complicated patchwork of road maintenance funding for Lancashire County Council, which totals £32.4m for 2024/25.

A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: “We know that improving our roads is a top priority for Lancashire’s residents and businesses.

“An increasingly important part of our highways maintenance strategy is to tackle areas where the road surface is deteriorating, leading to repeated pothole repairs – and we’ll be investing around £1.86m of the Network North funding over the next year in mini-resurfacing schemes to ensure these problems are resolved.

“Another priority for this funding will be drainage improvements to reduce the impact which the prolonged wet weather such as we’ve had over recent months has on the condition of our roads.”

Extra road repair schemes

This is a district-by-district breakdown of all the Network North-funded LDF projects in the format: road name – county council division – nature of work

Fylde

***A585 Kirkham Bypass – Fylde East – resurfacing of roundabout junction with Georges Park.

***Willows Avenue – Lytham – resurfacing full length

Hyndburn

***Fern Gore Avenue – Accrington West and Oswaldtwistle – resurfacing between Willows Lane and High Street

***Oxford Street – Accrington West and Oswaldtwistle Central – works between Blackburn Road and Hyndburn Road

Lancaster

***Banks Crescent and Alan Grove – Heysham – resurfacing full lengths of each

***Lowgill Lane – Lancaster Rural East – works from bridge over Crossdale Beck, west for seven metres

***Derwent Road – Lancaster East – works from Quernmore Road to Borrowdale Road

***Grange View – Lancaster Rural North – works for full length

Pendle

***Bent Lane – Pendle Rural – works for full length

Ribble Valley

***Inglewhite Road – Longridge and Bowland – works from from Sainsbury’s to Alston Hall pub

Rossendale

***Schofield Road – Rossendale South – works for full length

***Hollin Lane – Mid Rossendale – works from Burnley Road to Hollin Way

***Stubbin Street – Rossendale South – works from Bolton Road North to Stubbins Street

***Heightside Avenue – Mid Rossendale – works to rear of property nos.2-22

***Tong Lane – Whitworth and Bacup – works form South Street to Fair View Crescent/ Pennine Road

South Ribble

***Wateringpool Lane – Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge – resurfacing between Central Park Road South and St. Cuthbert’s Road

West Lancashire

***Turning Lane – West Lancashire West – resurfacing from streetlight column 11 to Southport Road

***Mickering Lane – West Lancashire West – works from Prescot Road, west to property ‘The Orchard’

***A577 Grove Road – Skelmersdale East Division – works form Dingle Road to Lafford Lane

***Delph Lane – West Lancashire West – works for full length

Wyre

***Bells Bridge Lane – Wyre Rural East – works from canal bridge to Ford Green House entrance

***Longmoor Lane – Wyre Rural East – works from junction with A6 to five metres beyond Parkside Lane

Source: Lancashire County Council

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