The Bickerstaffe Record

Bickerstaffe Thoughts

A577: Councillor Call for Action

11.11.10 | Comment?

This is the main text of my formal Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) over the A577 safety scheme debacle

The CCfA formed part of Labour’s legislative programme, and is used when other methods of a councillor getting stuff sorted are exhausted.  I hope the Chairman of the Executive Overview & Scrutiny Committee will allow the item – for it is in his gift to allow or decline – and that the people of Dickets Lane/Wigan Road get their case heard.

1. What are your reasons for requesting the item:

A safety scheme for the dangerous, multi-accident Wigan Road/Dickets Lane/Lyelake Lane junction was first agreed in February 2007 at a Lancashire Local meeting, after a long campaign.  Since then the scheme has met both with unacceptable levels of delay, during which time more accidents have taken place, including one tragic fatality, and been developed in a manner out of keeping with the original intention of the scheme and with inadequately meaningful consulation with residents affected by the accidents (including repeated damage to property).

A scheme was finally brought forward for consultation in late 2009, although both I and local residents were initially excluded from the consultation and had to make special provision to acquire the plans and make representation to county highways officers. 

Residents’ views at the time were that the scheme as it applied to the junction in question (the scheme now covers the whole length of the A577 between Skelmersdale and Ormskirk) was inadequate, and would not prevent accidents. In particular residents wanted to see scope for the inclusion of a roundabout at the junction, which had apparently been excluded on costs grounds (this made clear in email correspondence with officers), although it had earlier been discussed as a vital element of the scheme, and indeed formed an early rationale for the scheme.

Since early 2010, when residents (and I on their behalf) made these representations, there has been a long period of inaction on the part of the County, during which time there have been more accidents, including the fatality referred to above.

In March 2010 I raised the matter of the County’s inadequate design, and response at the last meeting of the West Lancs Lancashire Locals.  Objections were duly noted but nothing has coming of this approach, and the officer responsible has now retired.

I am now informed by a County council officers that the scheme is to go ahead as planned, despite the concerns of residents and myself, although no timetable could be given.

2.         What outcome would you wish to see following discussion of the item?

That the appropriate Portfolio Holder on WLBC be asked to raise the matter formally with the Executive Director for Environment/the Cabinet member for Transportation, with a view to this section of the A577 being wholly reassessed to take on board legitimate resident concerns about the scheme at Wigan Road/Dickets Lane and about the ‘movig of goalposts’ during the scheme’s development planning, that a new plan be drawn up meeting those concerns and that proper consultation be undertaken with residents and representatives.

This not need hold up work on other aspects of the whole scheme between Ormskirk and Skelmersdale. 



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