5:40pm Monday 6th February 2012
By James Wilson
AS the consultation process into the creation of the A556 bypass gets under way, the communities surrounding the road have reiterated their desire for the scheme to be mothballed.
Villagers in Millington and High Legh are those who are most against the new road that would replace the current A556, which has been named as Britain’s most congested rush-hour route.
The A556 Consultation Fund Group, set up by concerned residents, told the Guardian that some of the plans being publicised by the Highways Agency did not show the houses being affected by the scheme.
“Look carefully at the four options presented by the Highways Agency,” a spokesman said.
“You will notice that while all the properties in the Mere area have been illustrated, the majority of the properties on the other side of the A556, which will be most affected by the proposals, are missing. Where are our homes? Have they been deleted?
“The road appears to pass through ‘empty’ fields, and those who are being asked to vote are unaware that there are dozens of homes, farms, livery yards and a residential care home for the elderly all along the proposed route.
“Highways is attempting to subtly persuade you that the proposals will have minimal impact. In fact the impact on our vulnerable rural community will be utterly devastating.”
But Jeremy Bloom from the Highways Agency said they were not concealing any information from the public, and the properties were visible on the maps used during the consultation.
In a letter to the Guardian Matt Parkinson, of North Drive, High Legh, said he had concerns over the environment and the reasons how the new road would increase capacity.
“Following a presentation given by Jeremy Bloom, in September 2011, at High Legh Primary School, I fail to understand how the proposed scheme increases capacity – they propose building a new four-lane dual carriageway, but isn’t that exactly what the A556 is now?” he said.
“The scheme also includes a number of junctions, as the A556 does now, which will surely slow through traffic.
“In addition this proposal encourages local traffic to use the new road, so I am confused as to why it is being sold as a ‘bypass’.
“My second major concern is for the local environment.
“I cannot understand how this scheme, which is labelled as an environmental improvement scheme, actually does what it says.
“A new dual carriageway, while removing traffic from residents of Mere, will be built nearer to residences in Hoo Green, High Legh and Millington in particular.
“This will blight the lives of people living in these villages as well as destroying prime agricultural land, woodland and wildlife habitats.
“None of the reasons put forward in the proposal makes any sense.”
If anyone wants to support the fund group or contribute the website address is A556road.co.uk.
l Talk about the A556 consultation on our website at knutsford guardian.co.uk or on our Facebook page.
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