Local MP slams Highways' U-Turn on Daw Mill

Craig Tracey, Member of Parliament for North Warwickshire & Bedworth has expressed his disappointment at Highways recent decision to back mitigation plans in support of Daw Mill development proposals.

The Local MP who has consistently opposed the Daw Mill proposals and worked with local action groups has written to the Highways Communities Department outlining the flaws in the application proposals, particularly focusing on changes to Church Hill and the Green Man Crossing in Coleshill.

Craig commented:

“It is alarming for local residents, the so called ‘mitigation’ will exacerbate the current traffic problems at the Green Man Crossing. There is already significant over capacity of vehicles at these cross roads. Residents are understandably concerned over the impact that the proposed Daw Mill development would have on the local road network.

“I have asked Highways too look again at their decision as I believe they are wrong to now support the proposed changes in the layout in Coleshill.”

Craig's Letter is below:
I am writing in respect of Warwickshire County Council's response as Highway Authority to North Warwickshire Borough Council (Planning Authority) with regard to the current application for the Daw Mill site (planning ref PAP/2014/0339).

Firstly I must outline my disappointment and shock at the change in stance of the Highway Authority. I believe that there are clearly a number of flaws in the reasoning behind opposing the initial plans to now supporting proposals, nowhere more so than the proposed ‘mitigation’ at the Green Man Crossing (B4114 / B4117 crossing) in Coleshill.

I strongly urge you to reconsider the decision on the following basis:

  • The proposed ‘mitigation’ will in many respects exacerbate the current traffic problems layout in Coleshill at the Green Man Cross Roads and the immediate vicinity.

 

  • The response document states that: “During the peak travel periods AM Peak (08.00 09.00) and PM Peak (17.00 18.00) the junction operates significantly overcapacity with substantial delays and queuing observed during these periods.” This shows that significant improvement to the junction is required to make a substantial difference to motorists and residents in Coleshill. I know from experience how far back the queue of traffic from both the Birmingham road and Blythe Road gets. The proposed ‘mitigation’ clearly does not solve this problem.

 

  • Removing the existing ‘no right turn’ sign from Church Hill is not only dangerous but it will negate the intend impact of using Church Hill as a ‘slip road’. Vehicles will be turning back into traffic, causing more of a backlog along both Birmingham and Blythe Roads and would increase traffic from the High Street towards the Green Man Crossing. The ‘no right turn’ traffic road order (TRO) was introduced to address safety issues in 1998 as stated in your document. What evidence has there been that shows removing this TRO will no longer pose a risk to residents or motorists at this junction?

 

  • Your response document states: “The second option considered ways in which traffic can be reallocated on the highway network away from the junction. It is acknowledged and accepted that motorists will make use of alternative routes and will always choose the route that provides the greatest time saving and least resistance.” This is not the case for residents of Coleshill who have no other choice but to use this crossing to and from home. Their lives are impacted on by the inadequacy of the Green Man Crossing as a major route.

 

  • Your response documents states: “Direction signing would be erected to mirror that at the crossroads, showing it was the route to Shustoke… The turn out on to Blythe Road would be kept clear with a yellow box marking, to prevent the queue on Blythe Road blocking the junction.’” This does not consider that the same volume of traffic will be ending up on Blythe Road, just at slightly different points. Therefore the backlog of traffic at the Green man cross roads because of the right of way from vehicles coming from the High Street will still exist, just further down Blythe road at the Church Hill turning. Considering the volume of traffic at peak times, it is reasonable to consider that Church Hill could come to regular standstills. Therefore this is not mitigation but simply moving the same traffic from one point to another. 

 

  • Your response document states: “However it should be noted that due to the location of Daw Mill and proposed use for the site, most trips which are attracted to the site from the West Midlands Conurbation will move in the opposite direction to the observed existing movements at the junction during the peak hours.” This suggests inadequate evidence to form conclusions that the proposed ‘mitigation’ will improve the situation.  

 

  • The proposals remove parking spaces from Coleshill town centre. There are currently problems with parking on double yellow lines on the High Street with limited allocated spaces. Removing spaces will make this situation worse, it can also be argued that more cars will be ‘active’ for a longer period before finding an allocated parking space – thus increasing traffic flow.

 

  • Residents on Church Hill and the in the flats will see their immediate home environment completely transformed if these proposals go through. There would be a significant increase in traffic using Church Hill which is currently a quiet residential and small business road just off the High Street. Certainly there are a number of elderly and vulnerable residents of the Church Hill vicinity who will be affected by increase in traffic will increase the likeliness of traffic accidents for pedestrians and residents.

 

The fact that Highways were initially opposed to this shows the concerns they have over the suitability and impact of the proposals. It also suggests weaknesses in the proposed

‘mitigation’.

 

Understandably, Residents have contacted me with real concern for the Daw Mill Proposals. This  letter is focused on the proposed ‘mitigation’ outlined in Warwickshire County Council's response as Highway Authority for the traffic implications of the proposed development.

 

The significant impact on residents in Coleshill and the affected villages demands that considerations on the Transport Assessment cannot be taken lightly and with his in mind, I  implore you to reconsider your decision and would be happy to arrange an urgent site visit with  you to ensure that the negative implications to the local area were fully understood.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Craig Tracey MP