The Bickerstaffe Record

Bickerstaffe Thoughts

A577 safety campaign update

04.23.10 | Comment?

Here’s the text of the most recent letter to the Cabinet Member for Highways about the inadequate plans for the A577 safety scheme.

Cllr K Young

Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation

County Hall

Lancashire County Council


 Dear Cllr Young

I think you may now have had time to digest the details of the proposed safety scheme for the A577 between Skelmersdale and Ormskirk, around half the length of which is in my ward, Bickerstaffe, West Lancashire.

I have had regular communication with various of your officers as this scheme has been developed, and most recently with Ian Hornby, Area South Highways Manager, at the final West Lancashire ‘Lancashire Local’ meeting. 

Ian is well aware that both I and many of my constituents have grave misgivings about the scheme as it is planned for the junction of Wigan Road and Dickets Lane, and I do hope that our concerns have been transmitted to you in the paperwork you have received.

This letter is, in effect, a final plea to take note of residents’ legitimate concerns about what is planned before the overall scheme is implemented.   As it stands, the plans for the junction are  wholly inadequate and will do little or nothing to alleviate the problems residents have had over many years, and which have included upwards of 30 accidents, with one recent tragic fatality.

It is for officers to provide you with the detail of our concerns and to respond appropriately to whatever instructions which we hope you will give about re-appraising the scheme before implementation, and providing the junction with proper safety measures rather than largely cosmetic ones.

Here, I will just focus on the discrepancy in methodology between that used for the nearby A570 study and this one for this one of the A577, as I believe this discrepancy lies at the heart of the problems my constituents living near the junction now face.

As you will know, the A570 study involved a careful cost-benefit analysis of all the possible measures on the length of the road, with the eventual 12 areas selected for intervention based on the number of ‘personal injury accidents’ and a consequent ‘first year rate of return’. While there may be some doubt about the validity of this methodology overall, in terms of its preventative capability, it is at least consistent.

No such methodology appears to have been used, at least as far as I am aware from the plans provided, for the A577 scheme; in this case it would appear that cost alone has been the main consideration in assessing whether or not the junction should get what is needed most – the roundabout that was spoken of by officers in 2007 when the scheme was first agreed.  If PIAs had been used in the assessment, and especially if the assessment took accidents to date (and the increased rate of them) then it is likely, I contend that the investment in a roundabout would have been justified. 

To put this on context, the highest number of accidents recorded for a section of the A570 is 26 (also in my ward on the Rainford Bypass), while the Wigan Road/Dickets Lane junction has, by all accounts, had more.

I do hope that, even at this late stage, you will accept that it is appropriate to instruct officers to review this part of the a577 scheme.  This should not affect other works on the length of the road, and will allow the right scheme – one which actually stops accidents – taking place at the section of the whole scheme which most needs intervention.


Yours sincerely



Paul Cotterill

Councillor for Bickerstaffe Ward

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