CREATING a new junction on Stafford’s busiest road for a new housing estate would be “absolute lunacy”, the borough’s planners were told.
Plans for more than 300 new homes on Ashflats, a green field site next to the A449 Wolverhampton Road at Moss Pit, were rejected by the planning committee today after a bus-load of councillors visited the site.
Despite the fact that their visit took place in mid-morning during half-term, councillors registered their shock at the levels of traffic.
More than 50 members of the public attended the meeting at Stafford’s Civic Centre, and one of their representatives, Emma Bushe, who lives near the proposed site, described the road as the busiest and most dangerous in the borough.
“There’s a 30 mph speed limit here, but I don’t see it being adhered to very often,” said Miss Bushe, who addressed the meeting with fellow protester, Brian Causer.
“The road is already treacherous,” she said. “There was a fatal accident there a couple of months ago. Putting an access road at this point will only aggravate an already dangerous road. No contingency plans will be enough to make it safer.”
The members heard that the applicants, Stafford-based Milwood Land, planned to demolish an existing property and build around 300 homes on the 32 acre site. The land is outside the borough’s current development boundary.
Mr Causer told the committee: “I have lived here for 37 years. Ashflats acts as a natural flood plain. I’ve enjoyed walking my dog there. Covering it with concrete would mean that there would be nowhere for the water to go.
“The environment agencies say it will be alright, but they’re not standing up too well at the moment, are they?”
Councillor Bryan Cross said that the plan “lacked common sense”. He added: “It is absolute lunacy to put an access at this point.”
Bob Hurdus, the borough’s senior engineer, said that the road safety issues had been carefully investigated. Plans for road alignment and widening at the proposed junction had satisfied the highway concerns, he said.
He added that the road didn’t have a poor safety record. There had been only four “minor” accidents in the previous three years. The recent fatality, he said, happened when a car driver suffered a stroke at the wheel.
Councillors nevertheless voted 11-0 to reject the application, on the grounds that the site lay outside the borough’s planning blueprint, and that there were other, more appropriate sites available within the town.