Road Relief..... For Some!
In "Red and Yellow and......" we rehearsed the options being considered for what we're starting to call the Fleetwood Relief Road, and we came to the view that if any of the roads were built, the Yellow route was the most likely to be chosen. Note that we're not saying we think it should be this route, (actually we don't think there should be a new road built at all). But if one is built, we advised our readers - (who like to be ahead of the multitude) - that Yellow was the most likely route to be chosen.
It now looks as though Yellow has moved up a notch.
The Red route had its protected status removed back in February (you can think of this as shorthand for 'it's not going to get built'). Now the result of the public consultation on the various other options has been announced and, we are told, the public has backed the Yellow route.
This is not really surprising. The Red route goes through densely populated urban areas, so there's lots and lots of public opposition. The Yellow route goes mostly through fields, and cows weren't consulted. The people in the countryside are equally upset as those in the town, but speaking numerically, there are less of them.
So what's going to be the impact?
You can see from the
map that it runs more or less diagonally to the North West from the Kirkham junction on the M55, passing just south west of Singleton to the same junction on Garstang Road East as the Blue route would have used.
It avoids most of the urban bits, although it is close to Singleton.
It's the cheapest option (big plus). It is also the most direct. It is only marginally slower in travel time to the motorway than the Red route would have been. It is the second least environmentally damaging option (on the official measure of damage), and was also the preferred choice of the professional study.
So the nails are being hammered in for Yellow.
But if you live in Singleton you'll be really upset.
It's a charming village, a conservation area, and no trouble to anyone, but it's going to be turned upside down by this scheme.
It can be argued there is an upside for some existing Singleton residents with short term horizons. It is likely that, in the short to medium term, property prices will rise significantly as the village becomes a hot-spot within five minutes of what is, in effect, a Manchester motorway connection.
There will be huge pressure for more housing development of course.
So in the medium term some will benefit, but in the longer term, all will lose as the development spoils the village ethos and character.
There's no public news yet about whether the North or South option will be chosen at Mains lane, leaving residents wondering.
Perhaps it also suggests that the public consultation was either inconclusive, or disagreed with the expert's preference, so we have to wait a while longer to hear about this aspect.
Lots of people think the new road is to relieve the awful congestion that happens now at the Catlows junction (back to Windy Harbour and beyond), but it absolutely is not.
Its purpose is to INCREASE traffic to and from Fleetwood so that more industry and development can take place and Fleetwood's decline can be arrested and reversed.
That could be good news for folks in Fleetwood, but not for those in Singleton.
It will take some time before anything happens on the ground, probably ten or twelve years, so there's no immediate panic, but it's going to be difficult to explain to Singleton residents why they have to pay the price for Fleetwood's economic regeneration.
Dated: 14 April 2007