£4.9m Northwich Road Schemes to Underpin Town’s Regeneration

Two key schemes to prepare Northwich’s road system to cope with increased traffic created by the town’s regeneration programme moved into top gear this week.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Executive (07.08.2013) discussed the Leicester Street roundabout improvement scheme and the permanent implementation of the town centre gyratory scheme.

The Executive approved the start of formal consultations on the Leicester Street roundabout design and to begin the contract procurement for both schemes, worth £4.9m.

Councillor Lynn Riley, Executive member for Localities, said: “The proposals are underpinning the raft of major developments around Barons Quay, Hayhurst Quay and Memorial Court, all of which will impose extra pressures on the highways network.

“The roundabout will increase capacity and we are confident it will be beneficial to the residents, local businesses and hopefully, the many new visitors to the enhanced shopping and leisure opportunities that are coming forward.

“There is a strong desire to improve facilities for pedestrian and cycle access to and from that end of town into the town centre.”

Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive member for Growth and Innovation, agreed: “We have a great opportunity here to include access to the town centre by cycle which also gives access into Carey park and all the health and wellbeing benefits from exercise.”

Learner driver, Councillor Amy Mercer-Bailey, said she believed most people in Northwich would say Leicester Street roundabout was dangerous at points and she described her first encounter with it as “one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever tackled”.

She said: “I was relieved when the instructor told me to take the first left rather than the third right, for example, which would have created a problem about which lane to take on the way round or whether I was going to get run into by someone joining from another way.”

Councillor Paul Dolan said: “I think the reception (to the Leicester Street roundabout proposals) has been a little lukewarm, some people have felt it is an overkill.

“I am slightly concerned that the disruption for long suffering drivers from various road works and developments and the impact on traders adjacent to the roundabout, particularly at the side of the club and leisure places, will actually on balance counterweight any benefits we are going to get.

“It isn’t the Arc de Triomphe, this is a small town and the roundabout looks like a monstrous carbuncle.”

A decision to make the gyratory permanent was taken in March. The Executive on Wednesday (7/8/2013) approved the contract procurement process and work is expected to be completed by June 2015.

The Leicester Street roundabout does not require planning permission but informal discussions now move into formal consultation on the design. It is expected the new roundabout layout will also be completed by June 2015.