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East Midlands Chamber News

Public to be consulted on already-approved-in-principle road scheme

Plans to put traffic lights on one of the busiest and most dangerous roundabouts in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, will be the subject of consultation over the next few weeks.


The scheme, which will also ban egress – except for buses - on to the roundabout from one of the town’s busiest industrial estates, will see traffic lights installed at all six access points.


Whittington Moor roundabout links the A61 Chesterfield by-pass to the B6057 Sheffield Road to the town centre to the south, B6050 Dunston Road that feeds several business parks and the Sheepbridge industrial estate, Whittington Hill and Brimington Road, off which there more industrial areas.


D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership, is funding the £5m project, which will also see traffic lights installed at both ends of Sheepbridge Road, which provides access to the A61 from part of the industrial estate at its northern end and to Dunston Road to its south.


The works are intended to improve journey times on the A61 and reduce the number of crashes on the roundabout.


Under the proposed scheme, drivers who would normally join the roundabout from Dunston Road in the evening peak and parents on the school run will have to exit the business parks either via Sheepbridge Road – a known bottleneck – or divert through a congested housing estate.


Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, told the Derbyshire Times that with further developments planned for the area journey times would only get longer if nothing was done to improve traffic flows.


He added: “We do recognise that those who get onto the roundabout from Dunston Road will have slightly increased journey times.”


The scheme has been approved in principle already but the council is going to give people a chance to express their views at four consultation sessions at Whittington Moor Methodist Church Hall, Scarsdale Road, Chesterfield, on Saturday 4 August - 10am to 2pm, Monday 13 August – 4pm to 7pm, Monday 20 August – 5pm to 8pm and Thursday 23 August – 12pm to 3pm.


Scott Knowles, the Chamber's Chief Executive, said: “Safety on the roundabout does need improving. You take your life in your hands every time you use it, partly because of the speed at which cars come round it, partly because of the number of access points and partly because the sight-lines are short.


“Traffic lights will help although, like at Horns Bridge and Lockoford Lane, the shortness of the gaps between junctions will still see cars trying to make quick lane changes and crashes will still occur, they might just be at lower speeds.


“What we find perplexing is the other works planned as part of this initiative. We agree that traffic lights at the junction of Sheepbridge Lane and Broombank Road will probably help traffic leaving that part of the Sheepbridge Industrial Estate, which is a known bottleneck.


“We don’t, however, see any need for traffic lights at the Dunston Road end of Sheepbridge Lane, which will presumably include Dunston Lane. This will just create standing traffic and increased pollution in potentially four directions instead of one in the evening peak and won’t do anything to ease congestion at the other end of Dunston Lane at Littlemoor. In fact, it could make it worse.


“Closing access by car to the Whittington Moor roundabout from Dunston Road is a nonsense. Chesterfield Borough Council has encouraged significant industrial development along Dunston Road and yet more is planned. Making egress more difficult, even from the council’s own innovation centre, will negatively affect the desirability and value of office space in this area.


“In the mornings, Dunston Road and Sheepbridge workers will still be able to get to their offices and factories from the roundabout. In the evenings they’ll either face hold-ups at the Sheepbridge Lane traffic lights or divert through residential areas of Newbold, such as Racecourse Road, Occupation Road and St John’s Road, to get to Stand Road where they’ll queue again to join already queuing traffic on Sheffield Road to get back to the roundabout. This will effectively double journey times and increase pollution through that part of Newbold.


“I don’t thinks it’s an exaggeration to say it will means scores more cars, possibly hundreds more, will be forced to use those residential roads as rat-runs, much to the risk and annoyance of residents.


“As a local business, we would urge all our neighbours and Sheepbrideg businesses to go to the consultation meetings to make their feelings known. Traffic on Dunston Road is already bad in the evening rush hour. If implemented, this plan will only make things worse.”