Bristol news Dead-end motorway junction saga descends into 'royal mess' MetiNews.Com

MetiNews.Com - There is a reported funding deficit

Bristol news Dead-end motorway junction saga descends into 'royal mess' MetiNews.Com

MetiNews.Com - There is a reported funding deficit

Bristol news  Dead-end motorway junction saga descends into 'royal mess' MetiNews.Com
17 May 2021 - 04:26

Breaking News ! Concerns are mounting over an unusable M49 junction amid a reported £1million funding deficit for the project. Work on the £50million Severn Beach junction itself was completed by Highways England in 2019 – but it still cannot be used because it is yet to be connected to the local road network. Following months of limbo and arguments over where responsibility lies, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) allocated £1million in February to build the link roads, raising hopes the junction could be ready for use after around 12 months. But now Pilning and Severn Beach Parish Council chairman Peter Tyzack says he has been told another £1million is needed to cover the cost of the work. He said: “Around a month ago, I heard from the highways consultant that the estimate for works to be done could be approaching £2million." The unbuilt link roads would connect the motorway to Western Approach Distribution Park, used by Amazon, Lidl, Royal Mail, Tesco and others firms. Locals have complained of increased congestion due to the recent influx of businesses to the area, without the M49 junction to reduce pressure on other routes. Though it is not ready for use, Highways England and South Gloucestershire Council have already started putting changes in place as part of the junction scheme, including the controversial conversion of a road to a cycle path in Easter Compton. The council had said the landowner, Delta Properties, was responsible for building the link roads, but the company denied this in January, saying it had “no legal obligation”. It also said it had done some planning work “in the spirit of moving things forward”. Mr Tyzack does not believe Delta — which owns both the junction and the distribution park — intends to complete the work. He said: "It’s a bit like if you and I were neighbours, and we decided a fence needed fixing, and I went to B&Q to get the stuff, but you didn’t pay me. It’s based on a hope that there will be goodwill. “If the landowner is looking to maximise profit, they could build their warehouses and walk away. There is nothing that could stop them as far as I can see. It’s a right royal mess isn’t it? "I suspect the highway authority [South Gloucestershire Council] and WECA will have to stump up the funds and get the job done.." The parish council chairman added he has been informed one of the companies in the area is "looking at possibilities" on legal action over the failure to connect the junction. But he was sceptical over whether there would be grounds for action. He said: "I’ve read the planning document, and there’s nothing in there to hang any legal action on, as far as I can see. It would have to depend on any agreement the company might have with the landowner [Delta] with regards to access to the motorway.

." Mr Tyzack claims South Gloucestershire Council recently said the matter was "not their priority" when pressed for a progress report. "Surely they should be pushing," he said. "The remaining sites [at the distribution park] will not come to development while there is a lack of access to the motorway network. Get the biggest stories from across Bristol straight to your inbox. "Nobody is going to invest while there is that white elephant. There's frustration and irritation. South Gloucestershire Council has been stumped.” Mr Tyzack says the parish council has not had any contact with Delta, which did not respond to our approach for a comment for this article. Labour's newly elected WECA Metro Mayor Dan Norris said he will "seek to resolve this inherited challenge". He added: "All West of England Combined Authority funds are vitally needed, most significantly, for post-Covid economic recovery support and training as furlough ends this autumn. "As a fresh pair of eyes, I will look into the unconnected M49 junction to see what possible ways forward there might be. Whatever the solution, it would be helpful to the people in and around Avonmouth and to the regional economy if this could be resolved sooner, rather than, later." Mr Norris' predecessor, the Conservative Tim Bowles, said last year that Delta had failed to "deliver on their commitment" and had behaved "appallingly". A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson added: “We remain committed to working with those involved to progress the delivery of the link to the M49 junction for the benefit of the occupiers of the business park and the surrounding communities. “We share the frustration that the delay has caused and we will continue to work with stakeholders, including Highways England and the landowner, to facilitate the delivery of the link as soon as possible.” Once the required funding is secured, the work to connect the motorway is expected to take around a year, according to Mr Tyzack. Councillor Robert Griffin, for Pilning and Severn Beach, said completion “cannot come soon enough” at a meeting on the issue in February. He said: “This junction not only means a lot to our area in terms of the attractiveness of the Severnside area to businesses with simpler connectivity between the industrial and business parks and the motorway network. “It also means so much to the communities of Easter Compton, Hallen, Pilning and Severn Beach as the constant train of HGVs rolling through the villages will be diverted to a much more efficient, shorter and safer route."

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Bristol news Dead-end motorway junction saga descends into 'royal mess' MetiNews.Com


Bristol news Dead-end motorway junction saga descends into 'royal mess' MetiNews.Com


Bristol news Dead-end motorway junction saga descends into 'royal mess' MetiNews.Com


Bristol news Dead-end motorway junction saga descends into 'royal mess' MetiNews.Com

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