Plans to dramatically reshape the traffic system in Newport look set to be approved, despite concerns from councillors further consultation is needed.
Proposals to replace St Mary’s roundabout with junctions and traffic lights were debated at last night’s scrutiny meeting.
Part of £9m scheme
The revised plans are the first phase of a £9 million government-funded project to redesign the road network between ASDA and Camp Hill.
Tim Thorn, from Cycle Wight, questioned whether appropriate consideration had been given to walking and cycling provision.
“Is it appropriate for the significant revised scheme to proceed without consultation and engagement with users of the scheme, such as Cycle Wight?”
Jones-Evans: Improvements can be made
Scrutiny councillors questioned cabinet members about whether further consultation on the project could take place.
Councillor for Newport Central, Julie Jones-Evans said:
“I think there are improvements that can be made on these main junctions.
“It will give a comprehensive sweep of options for people to walk and cycle.
“The issue we get with public health — it’s those short drives that people make by car, that can be made by other methods, that’s where you get the most improvements with congestion and people’s health.”
Leader: Enough delays
However, cabinet members said they did not want to delay the decision any longer.
Responding, leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, said:
“Eighteen months ago the government gave us a substantial sum of money to undertake a piece of work. We have had the time for consultation.
“We will have an ongoing dialogue with the ward councillors, Cllrs Brodie and Jones-Evans. We are not going to do something that is not wanted because, actually, it affects all of us.”
Garratt: More consultation needed
Scrutiny chairman, Cllr Andrew Garratt, said more consultation was required, given the changes to the scheme.
“It is not a tweak, it is a significant variation on that. Why is a public consultation not being considered?”
Ward: “We had a consultation”
However, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, Cllr Ian Ward said ongoing delays would not achieve anything.
“We had a consultation — if all these issues were out there, why weren’t they brought to the consultation there and then and we could take them into account?”
Hutchinson: “Alternative ways to get to and from Newport”
Deputy council leader Cllr Stuart Hutchinson added:
“If this traffic scheme does what we want it to and improves traffic flow to get in and out of Newport, one of the downsides would be that more people would use it.
“We understand we have to give people alternative ways to get to and from Newport.
“We will take into account any other specific views, but it has to be a view founded in fact rather than opinion.”
The decision will go before cabinet tomorrow (Thursday).
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed
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