GRIDLOCKED traffic on one of Stratford-upon-Avon’s major highways—Birmingham Road—was this week blamed on a breakdown in communications between the key local authorities.
Stratford district councillor Clive Thomas (Lib Dem, Stratford) described the traffic chaos in Birmingham Road as “a nightmare” and a “dog’s breakfast” and said it had been caused by a lack of joined-up thinking.
The latest debacle is attributed to new traffic lights installed at the Western Road junction with Birmingham Road.
The lights—the latest of several on Birmingham Road—were deemed necessary because of the proposed development on the old cattle market site in Alcester Road.
At Monday’s meeting of Stratford District Council Cllr Thomas issued what he called “a cry for help” to Warwickshire County Coun-cil, the highways authority, over Stratford’s increasingly jammed up roads.
“The whole town is gridlocked,” said Cllr Thomas. “It’s not only Birmingham Road, but Shipston Road as well.”
Responding, Cllr Chris Saint (Cons, Tredington), the leader of the district council, told Cllr Thomas: “I agree it is a problem. I have to remind you that it is members of this council on the west area planning committee who have made these decisions to allow for the traffic lights.
“We believe there is some traffic management that needs a lot of attention. We need a more holistic view.”
Cllr Saint, who also represents Shipston on the county council, said he would raise the matter with that authority. Cllr Izzi Seccombe (Cons, Ettington)—who is the leader of the county council as well as being a member of the district council—was at the meeting when these exchanges took place.
After the meeting Cllr Thomas told the Herald: “The county council is not listening. It’s time the county council listened to local councillors. There’s a total breakdown in communications between the county and the district and town councils.
“It’s a complete dog’s breakfast, because all these planning applications have been looked at on their merits without taking into account the context of the rest of the area. It’s all willy-nilly. It’s become a nightmare—and lack of joined-up thinking has created this situation.”
The issue of Birmingham Road was also raised at Tuesday’s meeting of the county council at Shire Hall by Cllr Kate Rolfe (Lib Dem, Stratford). The portfolio holder for transport and highways, Cllr Peter Butlin (Cons, Rugby), told Cllr Rolfe he would look into the matter.
Afterwards Cllr Rolfe told the Herald: “This will continue to be a problem while we don’t have a core plan. The highways department will continue to look at everything on an almost piecemeal basis until there’s a core plan in place. That’s what we’re up against. It’s just so frustrating for us as ward members. The whole thing is bonkers.”
One bizarre twist to the story of the traffic lights at the junction of Western Road and Birmingham Road is that they have been installed as a result of an original planning permission granted to Redrow, on appeal, which Redrow is now attempting to replace by a revised scheme.
The revised scheme was rejected by the district council’s west area planning committee and is now itself the subject of an appeal that is due to be heard early in the New Year.
Meanwhile local resident Tony Arrowsmith, who lives in a street off Birmingham Road, has written to the county council to point out that the congestion is caused because the Western Road and Arden Street lights are not synchronised.
Mr Arrowsmith argues that the Western Road lights were not needed and that a “left only” out of Western Road was the only sensible solution.
In his letter to senior managers at the council Mr Arrowsmith declares: “If your staff lived off the Birmingham road in Stratford-upon-Avon, as I do, then they would not put forward such proposals to make tax payers’ life hell!”
The overall figure of £170,000 in expenses also needs unpacking. Most people think of business expenses as person...
Although the government u-turned on their decision to ignore VC winners born abroad in September, there were concerns th...
They say there is an “appalling lack of information” handed out to users by energy suppliers, and three quar...