Worcestershire County Council has come under yet more pressure to rethink changes to the A38 after a second group of residents staged a protest over the weekend. The action in Lickey End followed protests in Central Bromsgrove last month over plans to install a 'monster bridge' connecting the two sections of Old Station Road.
The County Council's £50 million Bromsgrove Route Enhancement Programme (BREP) aims to improve connectivity on one of the county's busiest roads. Phases 1 and 2 of the scheme are already underway but the final phase is drawing growing controversy.
Around 100 angry local residents gathered on the corner of School Lane on Sunday to demand that the County Council listen to their concerns over restricting access to a popular junction and adding an additional lane of traffic. Scheme F as it is known would see the right-hand turn from the A38 northbound removed and an additional southbound lane added to the Lickey End stretch of the A38. The action follows a petition against the proposals which was signed by almost 300 local residents and dozens of residents writing in to the major works team to register their objections.
Residents living beyond School Lane in the village of Lickey End fear the plans will have the oppositive effect of increasing connectivity, as drivers will be forced to extend their journeys and divert to the M42 junction 1 roundabout, creating more traffic congestion and pollution. Residents living closer to the proposed changes fear their roads will become more dangerous due to higher volumes of fast moving traffic.
Lib Dem Councillor Josh Robinson who represents the Lickey End area on the County Council and attended the protest said: "I don't think the Conservatives understand the strength of opposition to these proposals in Lickey End. Whilst we welcome improvements to walking and cycling we are really concerned about changes that could make Lickey End harder to navigate and increase local traffic congestion. I would urge those who will be deciding the future of this scheme to come and speak to residents before any decision is made."
The protest was also supported by Lib Dem Councillor Rob Hunter who represents the area on Bromsgrove District Council. Rob added: "Its easy to see how these proposals will move traffic off the M42 quicker but very hard to see what the benefit is to the local community here in Lickey End which already suffers with above average levels of air pollution. Instead of adding yet more traffic to local roads we should be looking at how we can encourage people out of their cars by improving walking and cycling provision".
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