Traffic fears as Wrexham Road plans are finally approved

WELL, we knew it was coming…. put plans for nearly 1,300 homes off Wrexham Road have finally been approved by the council.

Developers Redrow and Taylor Wimpey hope to get started on the development this summer with the first houses built early next year.

Redrow will be building 483 homes on 25 hectares of land, complete with shops, restaurant, pub, nursery, outdoor play area, primary school and playing fields.

A joint application from Redrow and Taylor Wimpey will create 786 homes on the northern part of the site.

The scheme had been talked about for many years as Cheshire West and Chester Council has been attempting to fulfil its house building quotas. But the impact of all the new houses with thousands of new cars would affect local areas such as Westminster Park, Curzon Park and Hough Green, according to campaigners.

Frank Titley, from Hough Green Residents’ Association, was worried about the extra traffic problems which would be created from the extra 2,000 vehicles on Overleigh Roundabout and Post House Roundabouts.

Hough Green, Lache Lane and Wrexham Road would all suffer congestion, he said, and the Grosvenor Bridge traffic could be at a standstill.

Brian Westcott, from Westminster Park Residents’ Association, said the development is going to be too big. He pointed out that projections estimated an 80 per cent increase in journey times along Wrexham Road despite improvements at Overleigh Roundabout.

The congestion will spread to other areas, such as Lache Lane, leading to extra congestion for Westminster Park residents. Her said the developers should have been made to contribute to the Chester West Relief Road to ease congestion but instead there will be minor tweaks to roundabouts which won’t help.

Issues such as drainage and flood risk were also highlighted by Mr Westcott.

Local councillor Razia Daniels emphasised that so many questions remain unanswered and there is not enough infrastructure in place to accommodate 1,300 homes. A third crossing of the river is vital, according to Cllr Daniels, to prevent the bottleneck of Grosvenor Bridge at peak times.

Flooding, safety of pedestrians, parking and cycling problems were also highlighted by Cllr Daniels, who added: “The number of extra cars will have a real impact on residents. I am really disappointed that the developers did not listen to what our residents were asking for, in particular bungalows for the elderly and a community centre. This development is essentially creating a new community, but without a community centre.”

Council planning officers say they are happy with the potential drainage impact of the new houses and have put measures in place to minimise traffic problems. They recommended approval and councillors backed the scheme by nine votes to one. It’s likely that if they had refused permission, the developers would have taken it to appeal, which had a good chance of going through.

Cllr Tom Blackmore said Chester needs new homes: “One of the biggest complaints we receive is from Cestrians, that they have got nowhere to live. Here is a big idea being put forward so that local people can live here.”

The developers, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey were delighted to receive planning permission.

Paul Moore, from Redrow, said: “We’re pleased that a resolution to grant planning consent has been given and hope to start work on infrastructure by summer this year, with a view for releasing homes for sale a few months later and welcoming the first residents in spring 2010.”

Anthony Mansfield, from Taylor Wimpey, added: “It’s an exciting development that will provide a significant proportion of Chester’s housing need over the coming years, including 30 per cent affordable housing. We can’t wait to get started.”