grand junction retail park - google street view

Plans for a new slip road entrance to Grand Junction retail park in Crewe – which would have cut across an existing cycleway – have been rejected by councillors, writes Stephen Topping.

Members of Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee warned the road would be dangerous for pedestrians and an inconvenience to cyclists as they unanimously refused the scheme.

Triton Property Fund wanted to construct a new access into its retail park on the westbound side of Manchester Bridge – meaning drivers could enter the site without stopping for the existing roundabout.

CEC officers had recommended the scheme for approval, but councillors disagreed – and felt the scheme would not resolve the regular problem of traffic leaving the retail park.

Cllr Suzanne Brookfield, Labour CEC member for Crewe East, told the committee: “I am grateful to the owners of the retail park for trying to make improvements for their customers and retailers.

“This scheme may allow customers speedier access to spend their money but does nothing to alleviate the recognised issues of exiting the park.

“This area of Crewe is one where car ownership is just over 40 per cent – and yet there appears to be little regard for pedestrians, cyclists and indeed those who use mobility vehicles or wheelchairs.”

Ben Wye, from Active Crewe Travel, also suggested children who walk along Manchester Bridge to nearby schools would be most at risk while trying to cross the new access.

In a report issued ahead of the meeting, CEC officers said it was “unfortunate” that pedestrians and cyclists on the existing path would have to give way to cars at the new access.

But they argued the benefits would outweigh the negatives – and Brad Wiseman, representing Triton, urged councillors to agree with their view.

He said: “In recent years, vehicular access to the site has come under pressure.

“Some concern remains in relation to vehicles entering and exiting the site via the only access with the roundabout.

“This issue is primarily caused by the steady stream of traffic which flows from east to west at this junction and prevents vehicles from leaving the site.”

However, councillors were not convinced by the plans, and agreed pedestrians and cyclists needed to take priority.

Cllr Joy Bratherton, Labour member for Crewe East, said: “On quieter days – it’s a slip road, and you know how fast people go on slip roads when there’s nothing in front of them.

“I don’t see this as being a problem sorted by this particular plan.”

Cllr Andrew Kolker, Conservative member for Dane Valley, added: “What particular problem is the management company trying to solve?

“In my experience, the problem of getting on to the site isn’t anything like as difficult as the problem of getting off the site.”

(pic courtesy of Google Street View)

One Comment

  1. Ben says:

    For background, the public are allowed just 3 minutes to comment on plans, so this is my submission, it was a bit nerve wracking…
    , I represent ACTive Crewe Travel. For ten years we have campaigned for council policy to adhere to the Dft hierarchy of road use, which prioritises disabled and vulnerable road users on the network.
    Firstly, on a personal note, my first career was in retail and I congratulate Triton and Savilles for an elegant commercial solution to their awful on site congestion issue that deters potential customers. Their proposal creates an inviting entry flow costing them only five grand and three parking spaces, while not making it any easier to leave. It is the same principle behind the up-only escalators at Marks and Spencers; make it easier to get in than out!
    However, ACT objects to the current proposal on grounds of equality, disability, safety, regeneration and health as it severs an existing walking and cycling route that is To be part of the recent £1.1million DFT road safety project connecting West st to Macon way.
    Half of households in Crewe Central do not have a car and need safe unbroken routes such as Earle st. Take Albert for example. He is 82 with limited mobility but he shops on his trike and trailer 3 times a week for his housebound wife. His own movement is limited so that he cannot look behind him while seated, so will not be able to see traffic coming as he crosses Westbound. vulnerable pedestrians and mobility scooters will be particularly at risk as they cross the unnecessarily wide carriageway due to its angle.
    There have only been 2 accidents at this spot in ten years. But a new filtered approach means that vehicles will not have to slow down at the new crossing. Children will be most at risk as this is on the walk to two expanding primary schools, and 40 – 60% of accidents occur at junctions .
    If we are serious about regenerating Crewe we should not subsidise any development that discourages visits to the town centre.
    This plan is designed to invite more cars on site, and hence more vehicles onto the surrounding streets. It can take 40 minutes to drive from Hungerford to Edleston school during the day, reflecting the national economic cost of congestion.
    Finally, Crewe has amongst the worst lifestyle outcomes in Cheshire; activity rates are the lowest , and premature mortality highest (33% were caused by road traffic accidents). Like us, the National institute for clinical excellence NICE recommends measures to reduce road dangers and to reallocate road space to facilitate Walking and cycling to improve physical and mental health.

    There are better options at this site and act can call on national experts to advise on these. Our consultants advise that the plan is totally inappropriate and were surprised that the following local ameliorations were not considered:

    Build the entrance at right angles with a tight radius to reduce the carriageway width and vehicle speeds to make the crossing safer (as at the existing junction at Brierley street)
    Build a raised table at the entrance (as all along the Nantwich Road 20mph zone)
    As it is on private land, paint another implied zebra crossing as close to the junction as possible (there are several of these on the retail park already and they are remarkably effective)
    If these are refused, then the minimum would be to cut in the pavement and cycle routes and ensure that the crossing point is at a right angle (as at the entrance to B&Q off Crewe Road)

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