Finally common sense has prevailed on the current Draycott A521 Roadworks Project being conducted by St Modwen Homes.
At the very last minute, St Modwen has “found a way” to compromise, and we now have a partial solution to the roadworks issue. It will not totally satisfy all, but it is a halfway-house.
There won’t be a contraflow, which the community would have liked best, but the time-frame (nineteen weeks) also means that St Modwen can still just-about open its housing estate there on time.
On the original plan, there was to be no way to the A50 roundabout in or out of Draycott.
It took a last-minute intervention by Philip Atkins, the leader of Staffordshire County Council, to make the difference. It looks like he banged a few heads together, and we now have the compromise.
So… at “most times” there will be one lane open through the roadworks, either going out of Draycott, or coming in. But no contraflow.
Instead of ten weeks for the project time-frame, as St Modwen hoped for, it will be extended by a further two months, so – in theory – it should be all done and dusted by the end of February.
A dedicated webpage has been created to keep us immediately up to date (in theory) with any changes on the works site, and alerting us as to which direction the ‘free’ lane will be using in each week.
Yes, this compromise will not suit everyone, and we too think that there were more intelligent solutions, but… at least we got some result.
For once, we can see that social media has been a power for good.
Although the roadworks plan was announced in late July, our respective village councils were slow to react, and even sat on their hands.
So it was left to the people. It took a strong popular response, especially from village websites like this one and from the two community Facebook groups (Draycott and Blythe Bridge), to get the debate up and running.
This strong response forced Staffordshire Highways/St Modwen to back off, and they postponed the original start-date (which had been Sept 7th). As we know, it was then postponed a few more times, until this final start-date of October 8th.
However, we also have to thank the two county councillors – Mark Deaville (for the Draycott end) and Keith Flunder (for the Blythe Bridge end) who, alerted to the strength of local concerns, now both waded in to the conflict.
We suspect it was pressure from these two that brought Philip Atkins into the issue – and he had the power to force a re-think from St Modwen…
(St Modwen’s engineers had said it was impossible to keep a lane free because the included drainage works under the road would mean the whole width of the road would be being used all the time.
Now they have come up with a solution.
Let’s hope that, even though it’s a compromise, it all works out…
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