BUSINESSES, residents and councillors have hit out at further delays and disruption as works to complete access to the Hazelwalls housing development continues. The deadline for works to be complete has been extended to June 30 – more than a month later than originally planned.
And essential repair works mean a full closure of the A518 will be needed on Sunday, June 27 – the same date as the bet365 Summer Cup at Uttoxeter racecourse. Kingstone Parish Council’s Nick Green has slammed the management of the roadworks, which have required a road closure at the junction of the A518 and B5013 Abbots Bromley Road for more than four months, with traffic diverted along narrow country lanes.
Cllr Green said: “There are two separate issues with that route. The first is that the crossroads is an accident blackspot. Improvements are planned and we are asking them to start work. Since the fatality there in 2019 there have been near-misses and three hospitalisations in a separate accident.
“I’m flabbergasted that all the Abbots Bromley traffic has been diverted along country lanes and HGVs are also using this route. The combination of the increase in traffic and the HGVs has ruined the road.
“Even worse than that has been the attitude of the county council highways, who have been lamentable in terms of communication. Their stock response is that we wouldn’t be in this position if East Staffordshire Borough Council hadn’t approved it in the first place, but between the two councils and the developer, these roadworks have been allowed to drift.
“I personally feel that David Wilson Homes need to pay towards repairing the roads along the diversionary route which have all been damaged as a result of them making a significant profit on this development. We want to know who is paying for the repair works and when it’s going to be done.”
Staffordshire County Council’s Uttoxeter Rural member, Cllr Philip Atkins added: “I have been receiving emails from Kingstone and Uttoxeter Rural Parish Councils who have suffered the diversions for over three months already from the closure of the B5013 linked with the Hazelwalls development, with further extensions by the developer’s contractors and now a road closure on the A518, a main trunk road, to plane and resurface the road.
“I have pointed out that it is Uttoxeter races on June 27, the same day as this proposed closure, although most attendees travel along the A50. As well as Uttoxeter racecourse, the A518 is also the main route from M6 south for Alton Towers.
“I have asked that diversions are signed far enough way for people to make informed decisions as to the route to take to reach their destination and also asked if Uttoxeter Racecourse and Alton Towers had been consulted, as they are in a better position to forewarn those who have booked to attend their venues of the road closure.
“Obviously these works are at the developer’s cost not the county council, so night time working would be the developer or contractor’s decision to cover the extra expense. I have also asked that after the diversions are ended, the diversion routes are inspected for damage and I have prioritised a traffic survey through to take place so engineers can look at solutions for the Watery Lane junction.
“Road closures for road works, rather than single carriageway working, seem to have become more prevalent in Staffordshire since road permits were introduced nationally in April 2020.
“While permits should control misuse of roadworks left for long periods, it appears they are now being used for the contractor’s benefit. I will be asking the background to these decisions as more closures take place and how regard is taken to the local residents and the local economy.
“We all know there is disruption when roads are repaired but closures and long diversions over long periods do damage to our local economy through delays and additional cost when other safe ways could be found to repair the roads, such as in the past with single carriageway working and traffic lights.”
The repair works on the A518 Stafford Road in Uttoxeter at the junction with the B5013 Abbotts Bromley Road have included complete resurfacing and two-way temporary traffic lights have been in place.
These are manually controlled from 7am to 9.30am and then 3.30pm to 7pm to minimise disruption during peak hours. Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said: “The A518 is the main route into Uttoxeter from the west and so we want to ensure it is well maintained to accommodate the volume of traffic using it every day.
“The works team has made every effort to minimise disruption through manually controlled temporary traffic signals at peak times, though unfortunately some is inevitable. So the scheme can be completed on schedule, this section will need to be closed during the day on Sunday June 27
“We’re urging people to allow additional travel time to allow for the diversion and would like to thank people for their patience while work has been carried out.”
The road closure at the A518/B5013 junction and up-coming road closure on Stafford Road this Sunday are needed to allow developer David Wilson Homes to create an access to more than 400 homes that are being built at the former Hazelwalls Farm.
Paul Smith, Technical Director for David Wilson Homes Mercia, said: “Due to delays around statutory services beyond our control, the planned work has taken longer than expected. In order to carryout extensive resurfacing, and protect the safety of the workforce, a full road closure is required for June 27.
“This has been agreed following a detailed consultation with Staffordshire Highways and additional, temporary signage will be put in place around the diversion to assist local residents and minimise disruption.
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused during this time and we look forward to completing these works as quickly as possible.”
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