Lancashire County Council is proposing to adopt and protect a route for the completion of the Penwortham Bypass.
A decision is due to be taken following a consultation held last year on plans for a new route for the road agreed as a key part of the Central Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan.
The council is proposing to protect the route from development and remove protection of a previously proposed route, with a decision due to be taken by County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, on Thursday 5 March. If agreed, preparation work will continue to support a planning application scheduled for submission in winter 2015.
A report to be considered by the cabinet member outlines issues raised during the consultation for the council’s planners to take into account during initial development of the scheme, and looks at how those issues can be addressed. Information about the plans and a questionnaire was sent to 13,000 residents. A number of public information events were also held, along with briefings for residents, schools, businesses, parish councils and residents’ groups.
Completing the bypass will improve access from the A59 to the motorway network on a road that does not pass through Penwortham or Preston city centre. Completion of the Penwortham Bypass has been included in council plans for a number of years with funding for the scheme now available as a result of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.
As well as making it much quicker and easier for people to get in and out of Preston and South Ribble, the bypass would dramatically reduce traffic through the centre of Penwortham. The project will also allow substantial improvements to be introduced along the Liverpool Road corridor and in the local centre, to benefit public transport, pedestrians and cyclists, and provide a much more attractive local environment for shoppers and visitors and present opportunities for businesses to grow.
Phill Wilson, project manager for the City Deal Delivery Team, said: “We’re proposing to protect the route from development as this is a vital step in the planning process if we’re to deliver the bypass and the improvements it would bring.
“We’re very grateful to everyone who responded to the initial consultation held last year, and if the decision is made to proceed with the scheme, we’ll consider the issues raised very carefully as plans progress. Very few responses to the consultation argued against us completing the bypass which suggests a strong consensus across the local communities affected that the final piece of road to connect to the A59 should be built.
“Many of the things people asked us to look at are only able to be addressed at the detailed design stage and there will be further informal and formal consultation as the scheme is developed.”
Importantly, nothing was raised through the consultation that would stop progress on the preferred route. Compared to the previously proposed route for the completion of the bypass, the new route will mean no houses need to be demolished, have less of an environmental impact, and be a shorter stretch of road.
It will also be cheaper to deliver and provide a more direct link to a potential future bridge over the River Ribble.
The completion of the Penwortham Bypass is a key element of plans to support new development and economic growth outlined in Lancashire County Council’s Central Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan, and one of four major highway schemes to receive funding under the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal. A potential Ribble crossing is also highlighted in the Masterplan and the City Deal has made provision for funding to explore its feasibility.
The City Deal is a £434m ten-year project for Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire, delivering substantial new roads and other transport and infrastructure improvements.
Agreed with Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government, the City Deal will bring economic growth to the area over the next decade. This includes creating more than 20,000 new jobs and the building of over 17,000 new homes.