COUNCIL chiefs have called for a delay to controversial plans to close a stretch of the A425 near Southam for nine months as part of the HS2 project.
Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council, along with local ward councillors, have requested the work to be put back until the first week of 2021 to minimise disruption.
HS2’s proposal is to close the A425 between Southam and Leamington from the Dallas Burston Polo Grounds to the Ufton Crossroad until July 2021 to enable essential work to be carried out.
This is a change in stance from the original plans to re-route the A425 with a temporary road.
At a recent meeting between council chiefs and ward councillors, it was agreed to ask for a delay to the start of the works to:
- Allow sufficient time to organise signage and communication for the road closure.
- Allow businesses to make alternative arrangements, particularly for deliveries. Haulage firms such as Skelcher’s have said that the proposed detour is likely to cost them between £5-8k per lorry over the period.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, leader of Stratford District Council, said: “We had a very constructive meeting with some sensible proposals put forward.
“We will ensure that our Warwickshire MPs are fully briefed on this matter as well as involving the HS2 minister.
“We also want to ensure that the HS2 complaints commissioner is made aware of HS2’s actions.
“This proposed closure will have a devastating effect on residents and the local economy, which is still recovery and coping with the coronavirus.”
At the meeting, it was agreed that starting work in the New Year would not delay HS2’s project by two months due to poor weather, darker nights and the two-week festive break.
Council chiefs say that leaving the closure until January and moving into spring will see longer daylight hours that would allow the work to still be completed by the end of July.
They also stated that delaying the road closure would reduce any potential Christmas disruption for residents and businesses during the current economic climate that has been hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was also agreed that a delay would guarantee access to Southam and its surrounding villages with no disruption to the potential junction improvements at the Harbury Lane–Harby Road junction and the Gaydon–Lighthorne Heath development.
The delay would also allow time for the reinstatement works on Welsh Road West and around Deppers, Harbury, Bishops Itchington, Ufton and Bascote to take place.
Additional roadworks are also planned for Snowford Hill from Long Itchington to the Fosse which is going to be closed for a further three weeks, taking out another alternative route.
The group has also requested to see the financial figures behind the planned nine-month road closure as well as the environmental impact assessment of the new proposals that are different to those approved by Parliament.