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More than 50 new homes coming to Telford despite traffic fears

Telford | News | Published: | Last Updated:

More homes are to be built in Telford despite traffic fears.

Telford’s planning committee has voted to allow Nuplace to build 54 new homes, including houses adapted for disabled residents, on land behind Charlton school in Dothill.

These will be accessed via St Pauls Drive, which the street’s existing residents say is “insufficient” to handle the extra traffic.

Nuplace, which is owned by Telford and Wrekin Council, looked at adding a new junction off Whitchurch Drive but found it to be unfeasible, while highways officers said it was unnecessary.

At a previous planning committee meeting, highways officers said St Pauls Drive was adequate to handle the extra traffic, but councillors asked the developer to explore adding an extra access.

In a report before the reconvened meeting this week, officers said they and Nuplace investigated adding a “ghost right-turn” junction on Whitchurch Road, but found this would require widening the carriageway at a cost of around £325,000.

The authors wrote: “The applicant has demonstrated to the satisfaction of officers that, due to the costs and consequences, it would not be viable.”

Concern

Alyson Westbrook, a resident of St Pauls Drive, accused the committee of ignoring safety issues. She said: “Since when has cost come before democracy? Safety was a major concern of the last committee, but has been carefully set aside today.”

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Miss Westbrook added that she and her neighbours had been shown diagrams to demonstrate the passing space, but these were on a straight road while St Pauls Drive is a zig-zag.

Dothill councillor Karen Tomlinson added: “If any emergency vehicles try to pass on this road after 5pm they will not get through.”

Planning committee member Councillor Ian Fletcher said “I can’t understand why they considered a ‘ghost right-turn’.

“We have them on the roads in my areas and it means, in effect, someone turns across you – usually, this being Telford, without indicating.”

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Councillor Fletcher, who represents Priorslee, said a “left-in, left-out” design for the junction would be safer and still convenient, as there are roundabouts at both ends of that section of Whitchurch Drive.

But highways officers told the meeting left-in, left-out turnings are misused by drivers elsewhere in the borough so they were against proposing another, and that the St Pauls Drive access meets all current standards.

Planning committee chairman Charles Smith said he thought the fact that many of the homes will be occupied by disabled and elderly residents mitigated concerns about access.

The homes will be a mixture of one to four-bedroom one houses, including two affordable and 19 “specialist needs” homes.

“I don’t think they will be putting much extra traffic on the roads,” he said.

The Telford and Wrekin Council planning committee voted 5-4 to approve Nuplace’s plans.

Story by Alex Moore, local democracy reporter

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