More HGVs for Eccleshall?

Looking out for yet more HGVs: campaigners at a 28.2. press call at Catshill Cross
Looking out for yet more HGVs: campaigners at a 28.2. press call at Catshill Cross

Fearing even more HGVs coming through Eccleshall, residents have joined forces to fight the proposed creation of a new junction and access road to a nearby industrial estate. Raleigh Hall Industrial estate lodged plans with the Borough Council last month for an additional access at Catshill Cross on the A519 north of the town. The plan would include an upgrade of part of Sturbridge Lane, which bounds the south end of the site.

The application has been called in by local Borough Councillor Jeremy Pert.

The application cites improved safety and a poor accident history of the Estate’s current access on the Swynnerton Road as grounds for the additional entrance. But campaign proup  dispute this. Its Swynnerton Road access has a good history, they claim, with only two accidents at the A519 Byanna Junction in the last five years. Besides this, the Estate already has a second, unused  access onto Swynnerton Road.

The real reason for the additional access, they and other residents argue, is to allow the Estate to expand in future.  John Leather from Catshill Cross voiced his suspicions in a letter of objection to Eccleshall Parish Council’s March 4th Planning Committee.

“The new road now proposed would not be suggested by the owners if it was just to service the existing industrial estate,” Mr Leather told the meeting. “…. There would be no justifiable financial reason for the owners to construct a costly new entrance unless it was going to release additional development land.”

As the Estate’s potential development area would be less than 4 hectares, there would be no requirement either for an environmental impact assessment or a full traffic impact assessment which would take into account the predicted additional traffic through Eccleshall, Mr Leather explained.

The Estate’s future expansion is not mentioned in their new access application, but Mr Leather claimed Raleigh Hall owner John Edwards had referred to this possibility at a meeting with local residents last October.

“This application should be recognised for what it is – a back door method to get the new access without doing what would be necessary if the whole site was applied for at the same time,” Mr Leather claimed.

“The proposed site for the new access road has a much worse accident history and is on a very fast stretch of road, with extremely poor visibility,” said Gail Potts from www.nomorehgvs in a statement to the Gazette . “In 2003, a previous application for this access in connection when the Biomass Power Station was built at Raleigh Hall was refused for these very same reasons.”

“Eccleshall’s mini-roundabouts are already running at full capacity. There can be no excuse for this expansion when there is a new and empty industrial estate right next to the M6 at at Redhill Business Park.”

But Planning Committee Vice Chair Bryan Delanchy stressed  the Parish Council must consider this application on the basis of what it contained, not what could be read into it. Pointing out that the application made no reference to the Raleigh Hall Estate’s future expansion, he recommended the Parish Council should reject the it on the grounds that the applicant had not convincingly demonstrated the need for an additional access.

March 11th was the deadline for public comments and the date of the Borough Council’s debate on the application, ref 15/21729/FUL was, at the time of writing, still to be announced.