High­way to hell

Plans to build £250m dual car­riage­way through Rim­rose Park will send ‘seis­mic shock­wave through com­mu­nity’, say res­i­dents:

Midweek Visiter - - Front Page - BY TOM DUFFY tom.duffy@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @tab­duffy

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.

Ian Cooper

The new £250m dual car­riage­way by­pass through the Rim­rose Val­ley will con­nect Princess Way to Broom’s Cross Road

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