Highway to hell
Plans to build £250m dual carriageway through Rimrose Park will send ‘seismic shockwave through community’, say residents:
THE decision to build a £250m dual carriageway through a country park in Sefton has been described as a “shockwave” to the community.
Highways England (HE) has decided a new road from Switch Island through Rimrose Valley park is the best way to manage the increased traffic heading to the new Port of Liverpool, rather than to make improvements to nearby Church Road.
Si Smith, from the Friends of Rimrose Valley, said: “This will send a seismic shockwave through our community that will without doubt galvanise us all to action.
“Through the conversations we have had with many people over the months, we are in no doubt that people will fight this decision by all legal means necessary.
“The announcement can only be described as a declaration of intended vandalism that the Government should be ashamed of, taking the last remaining decent, open green space – our essential green space – away from the people of Central Sefton.”
John McDonald, speaking on behalf of the Friends of Church Road, said: “Obviously the decision offers a ray of light to Church Road residents. But our efforts will now go toward helping the Rimrose Valley friends get the right road. We want to see a type of covered road, which will contain the pollution and noise. The Church Road campaign was never about ‘us and them.’ We all live in the same borough.”
Sefton Council leader, Cllr Ian Maher, launched a stinging attack, criticising HE for its handling of the decision and for not considering a “tunnel” option.
He said: “I am completely astounded at the way Highways England has handled this whole situation and sent letters out to announce their preferred option is to build a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley without notifying us in advance.
“Once again we have been railroaded. They will be hearing from us as it’s a farce the way the whole process has been dealt with.
“These communities already suffer from some of the poorest air quality and the Government’s response is to build a road through the Rimrose Valley which by Highways England’s own admission will make things even worst. It beggars belief.
“We have been clear throughout the consultation that the two options presented – a revamped A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road, which is already one of the busiest roads in the north, or a new road through Rimrose Valley Park in Litherland – would both have a significant negative impact on local people.
“Our suggestion to fully explore the idea of building a tunnel between Switch Island and the Port of Liverpool should have at least been acknowledged. It remains my view that this option was rejected on cost grounds. Whilst I accept that it would ultimately cost more money, tunnels have been built elsewhere across the country and I can’t help feeling that because we are in the north we are being treated as secondclass citizens.
“To just drop it on us early that their preferred option is to build a new road through Rimrose Valley will devastate the local community. Not only will it remove much loved and vital green space provision in Sefton, but will cause air pollution and threaten the environmental and ecological systems which local people enjoy and which supports their health and wellbeing.
“The people of Sefton have been completely shafted in what is to me a very flawed decision.”
Tim Gamon, from Highways England, said: “The new bypass will take the existing traffic away from the A5036, as well as managing the significant increase in vehicle numbers that are anticipated with the port’s growth.
“We’re also committed to making improvements to the existing A5036 as part of the scheme that will benefit people who live and work in the area.”
Work is expected to start on site no later than March 2020.
The new £250m dual carriageway bypass through the Rimrose Valley will connect Princess Way to Broom’s Cross Road