THE PORTFOLIO Holder for Economic Growth at Worcestershire County Council has agreed to visit Bromsgrove to witness traffic gridlock issues faced by residents following the authority’s opposition to a western bypass.
Coun Chris Bloore invited Coun Ken Pollock, the Cabinet Member responsible for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, to visit the town at last Thursday’s full county council meeting where the authority submitted its report analysing the feasibility of building a western bypass.
At the meeting, Coun Mallett challenged the validity of the report which opposed the construction of the bypass. He said it did not address the existing congestion on local roads or factor growth in the town.
In response to Coun Bloore’s invitation to visit Bromsgrove, Coun Pollock told the Standard: “I fully intend to take up the offer of a visit to Bromsgrove. I am taking a look at all the information concerning this issue before making any further comment.”
Housing developments at sites such as Perryfields and Whitford Road have already sparked hundreds of complaints and come into question because of their predicted impact on traffic congestion in the town.
Coun Bloore said the ‘real problem’ lay with the fact a ‘western bypass’ was not a pre-requisite in law for such new homes.
Recommendations for a western bypass to re-route traffic to the A38 were first aired in the 2004 Bromsgrove District Council Local Plan.
A decade later, a motion to investigate the feasibility of such a bypass was presented by Coun Luke Mallett and passed at a Bromsgrove District Council meeting in June 2014.
This was followed by a meeting chaired in November 2015 by MP Sajid Javid between the district council, Highways and the Bromsgrove Society to discuss traffic solutions such as a western bypass.
Coun Mallett told the Standard: “Why are all improvements happening on the east side of Bromsgrove when it’s the west where the majority of Bromsgrove’s developments are taking place?
“The district council should realise their Local Plan is not viable without transport infrastructure.”
He added the county council’s report on the western bypass was an ‘utter dereliction of their strategic transport planning’ – and demonstrated ‘a failure to plan Bromsgrove’s growth both in terms of economy and housing.’
“In 2004, the county council knew Bromsgrove had earmarked certain sites for development, but they didn’t say anything about the problems ahead.
“I commend Coun Pollock for taking up the invitation to visit Bromsgrove. Let’s hope his willingness will be matched by action on his part.”