Traffic gridlock fear at new Sainsbury's store
TRAFFIC lights are now planned as part of a new Sainsbury's development earmarked for Ashchurch.
And councillors fear it could cause traffic gridlock. Members of Northway parish council are worried because the retail giant's plans to build a store at Easter Park now include installing traffic lights on the A46, near the main entrance to the site.
When the original plans were submitted to Tewkesbury Borough Council 14 months ago, a roundabout was suggested.
But now, after holding talks with the Highways Agency, Sainsbury's has submitted amended plans to the council.
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As well as planning to widen the trunk road alongside Easter Park, the company intends to install traffic lights. The move has led Northway parish council to reverse its decision to support the proposal.
Explaining why it is now against it, chairman Steve Cooper said: "It would probably be better off with a roundabout as that would be better for the flow of traffic. You don't really want another set of traffic lights there."
He said there were already five sets of lights stopping traffic on a stretch of the A46 that is about a mile long and goes between junction nine of the M5 and Aston Cross. Yet another, he said, could see vehicles having to stop far too often on the busy road – running the risk that peak-time delays would worsen.
And Angela Brown, chairman of Ashchurch Rural Parish Council, said she shared the concern. "It's not going to do any favours to the situation whatsoever. It's going to make a very bad situation 10 times worse," she said.
She added that her authority had been trying for some time to fix a meeting with the Highways Agency about the issue.
As well as being worried about road safety and traffic management issues on the A46, her council has concerns regarding the impact supermarket traffic would have on surrounding village roads.
But the Highways Agency insisted that traffic lights would be the best option for the site. A spokeswoman said: "The agency and developer have agreed traffic signals for the proposed development in Ashchurch because they are more appropriate for this stretch of the A46.
"Should the planning application be approved by the local planning authority, the new traffic signals would be linked to the existing signals at the Alexandra Road and Northway Lane junctions, with capability to effectively reduce congestion and manage traffic flow."
Tewkesbury Borough Council said it expected its planning committee to consider Sainsbury's application within the next couple of months.