WORCESTERSHIRE County Council has paused the plans for the controversial bridge across the A38 in Bromsgrove.
It follows objections by residents living in the area who said the pedestrian and cycling footbridge, which would cross the main road between Old Station Road and Harvington Road, was unsuitable, would not be used by anyone and at £6million was a ‘complete waste of money’.
They called on Coun Alan Amos. Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for highways, to visit the site and speak to residents about their views.
They were critical of Coun Amos for ‘not taking up their offer’ but it was him who announced the plans were being put on hold to ‘explore other options to deliver the same objectives’.
A petition containing more than 200 names had been previously presented to Worcestershire County Council at a full council meeting and the announcement will be welcome news to those who have campaigned so tirelessly.
One campaigner Bernard Winspur told the Standard: “It’s marvellous news and great that common sense has prevailed – we hope the council can now come up with a sensible and more suitable alternative.”
Coun Kit Taylor and Coun Josh Robinson also worked with residents in a bid to get the council to consider other alternatives’.
Coun Taylor said: “Myself and Josh have done our jobs as councillors but this is a victory for people power.
“We have all worked very hard to get this result and it is good to see the county council listening to the people who live here because they know what is best for the area.”
Coun Robinson said he was delighted with the decision after the work put in by him and others, including residents and fellow Liberal Democrat councillor Siobhan Robinson.
“The hard work though starts now and we must lower the speed limit to 40mph on this stretch of road and create a wider space for pedestrians.”
The announcement on the bridge came as the council agreed to submit a funding application for £49million to the Department of Transport to help cut congestion on one of Bromsgrove’s busiest roads.
The Outline Business Case for significant investment would enable the County Council to deliver Phase 3 of the A38 Bromsgrove Route Enhancement Programme.
Coun Amos said: “The A38 is one of the most important and busiest roads in the county which suffers from heavy congestion at peak times leading to prolonged and unreliable journey times with subsequent environmental impacts.
“If nothing is done to address these issues, the situation will only get worse leading to more congestion.
“We received some valuable feedback from local residents and we have made revisions to two of the schemes within the programme.”
Other announcements made today include keeping School Lane open but getting rid of the right turn.
Coun Amos said: “We will instead only prohibit the right turn from the A38, given the need to keep traffic flowing and reduce congestion, both being key objectives of this scheme.”
Coun Taylor said he was disappointed with that decision as it would mean drivers would have to go all the way down to the M42 island – already one of the worst areas of the town for air quality and pollution – turn round and come all the way back again.
Coun Robinson added: “I am dismayed that the Conservatives have ran down the clock on School Lane and say they now have no time to re-consult the residents of Lickey End, an option they kept open originally.
“The fight is not over and we are taking advice from officers at County on this.
“Let’s hope common sense prevails and local residents are listened to.”
Visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/A38BREP for more on the improvements to the A38 in Bromsgrove, including a summary highlighting the key findings from the engagement exercise.