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Families could lose homes as part of A50 project

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: February 28, 2014

25/02/14 A50 consultation - Uttoxeter Racecourse, Uttoxeter
Consultation into plans for a multi-million pound development on the A50.Project manager Andy Mason from Staffs County Council.

25/02/14 A50 consultation - Uttoxeter Racecourse, Uttoxeter Consultation into plans for a multi-million pound development on the A50.Project manager Andy Mason from Staffs County Council.

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THREE Uttoxeter families could lose their homes to make way for improvements to the A50 in and around town.

Also affected will be 37 businesses which may be forced to give up land or move premises.

And a host of homeowners may be served compulsory purchase orders to give up parts of their gardens.

The news comes as bosses at Staffordshire County Council launched a public consultation on the A50 project earlier this week.

The authority is delivering the redevelopment of the dual carriageway on behalf of the Department for Transport (DFE).

And at Tuesday’s consultation launch, detailed plans were released about exactly how roads in and around Uttoxeter will be altered.

The £40 million project is designed to accommodate traffic from JCB’s forthcoming Beamhurst factory and a proposed 700-home scheme – which will also house a business park – on land west of Uttoxeter.

It will also improve transport links to Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Nottingham.

However, opinion in town is split as to whether or not the project will yield a direct benefit in Uttoxeter.

Mark Winnington, county council cabinet member for business and infrastructure, said: “We’ve found that around 37 landowners will be affected. Most have been contacted and know what’s going on.

“There are three households where the occupants will need to move out to accommodate the plans.

“Everyone affected will be properly compensated for the loss of their land.”

DETAILED plans about the transformation of the A50 surrounding Uttoxeter have been released for the first time.

The above image shows exactly where the new stretches of road and junctions will be installed in town.

Staffordshire County Council, which is delivering the scheme on behalf of the government, has split the road improvements into two projects.

Project A, for which planning permission will be entered in Spring, will see the removal of the flyover bridge on the west side of Uttoxeter.

It will be replaced by a new junction to service the proposed 700-home and business park development put forward by St Modwen.

The council hopes construction work on Project A will start as early as December.

This will come as bad news for thousands of protestors who have signed petitions against the St Modwen development.

However, Mark Winnington, council boss for business and infrastructure, denied the St Modwen application was ‘a done deal’.

He said: “If they’ve got outline planning permission, there’s going to be a development there.

“While we’re creating a new junction to serve JCB’s development and make the A50 safer, it makes sense to use funding from the proposed developer to put infrastructure in place.

“It would be a dereliction of duty on our part not to make sure the roads weren’t ready as and when the application is accepted.

“No application is a done deal until it’s formally approved, but that site’s in the local plan, so it’s highly likely there’ll be houses there.”

Project B, which is likely to take ‘several years’ to complete, will see the removal of roundabouts at Derby Road and McDonald’s and the installation of a new flyover between the two.

Steve Burrows, commissioner for business and enterprise at the council, said: “There’s already a problem with congestion in Uttoxeter, particularly when Alton Towers is open.

“There are a few dangerous slip roads where people are coming on to the dual carriageway on the same level at different speeds.

“A lot of development is proposed for Uttoxeter and JCB is expanding significantly.

“Ourselves and all our partner agencies agree the roads as they are now won’t be able to cope.

“Most traffic using the road is through-traffic heading to Derby or Stoke-on-Trent.

“What we’re proposing is to create two grade-separated junctions so that traffic doesn’t have to stop.

“This will ease congestion and improve road safety as local traffic will use the two new junctions.

“The plans will allow motorists to access the A50 from all directions and merge with traffic going at the same speed.”

Council officials said ‘six-to-eight’ businesses, one of which will be popular pub-restaurant the Parks, will be affected by Project A.

They were unable to specify what arrangements would be made for road users during construction, but assured the Post and Times 'traffic management systems' would be put in place to help Uttoxeter cope.

THE house built for legendary bare knuckle gypsy boxing champion Bartley Gorman could be among the casualties of the project to transform the A50 around Uttoxeter.

Mr Gorman’s daughter, Maria, told the Post and Times the bypass road house is to be one of the three homes through which new three-lane roads will be built.

Mr Gorman died in 2002 and never got to see his dream home, for which he oversaw most of the construction, finished.

It lay dormant until a family took up residence there around four years ago.

Miss Gorman told the Post and Times she was ‘very upset’ at the prospect of the iconic house being demolished.

She said: “That house is a part of him and there is still a big piece of stone on the land bearing his name.

“My dad’s buried in Rocester and I go to visit his grave every week and drive past the house every time.

“It’s one of the most beautiful houses in town and it’s most striking features are the three big chimneys it has.

“I think there’s about six acres of attached land and a river running through it.

“For me, that house represents my dad’s memory. Everyone who drive’s past it still calls it ‘Bartley’s house’.

“I’m very upset about this. In a way, it’s like a part of my dad is going again.

“I think the authorities do what they want when they want and there doesn’t appear to be any choice.

“My dad would be outraged if he was still alive. The council would’ve had a massive fight on their hands.

“I’m really sorry for the people living there now, because they’re lovely people and don’t deserve to be turfed out of their home.”

UTTOXETER businesses are set for significant upheaval as part of the A50 plans – and some will be asked to move premises permanently.

Speaking at Tuesday’s public consultation launch, council bosses admitted 37 firms will be affected by their plans.

It is thought businesses around the McDonald’s roundabout, including McDonald’s itself and its adjoining Esso garage, are among those that could be under threat.

An Exonmobile spokesman said: “We are aware of the proposals for the A50 and have requested further details. It is too soon for us to make a comment on what is proposed.”

A McDonald’s spokesman said: “I can confirm that we have been contacted by the council regarding the A50 development and will be meeting with them over the next few weeks to learn more about the plans and the possible impact that it will have on the restaurant."

Workers at the small commercial area on Derby Road, which houses Burger King, a Eurogarages petrol station, Starbucks and Subway, are also concerned they may be affected.

Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths has confirmed he will meet with bosses from Eurogarages to discuss their concerns.

Another business that could suffer is The Parks pub-restaurant as, under the current plans, its historic building could be demolished.

The access to the establishment, which is off a fly-over that will be demolished under the current plans, is also under threat.

Manager Lee Barrett said: “We attended the consultation event and the council is in negotiations with Trust Inns, which owns the site about a compulsory purchase order.

“We’re going to ask Trust Inns not to sell all the land.

“From our point of view, the bottom end of our car park could be sold without putting us out of business.

“We’ll be setting up more petitions and will fight tooth and nail to save the building and our business.”

It has been less than a month since the Parks was spared the axe by the borough council planning committee, which rejected Trust Inns’ application to replace the building with 28 houses.

Mr Barrett said: “On the back of that housing plan, which was roundly rejected by the borough planning committee, many of the councillors made comments about how much of an asset we are to the community.

“And we’d be an even greater asset when the 700 home scheme comes to fruition. We can serve the people living in those new houses so it just seems stupid to do what’s being proposed.

“It would mean 20 people would lose their jobs and we’d be looking for a new site to move into.

“We’d obviously look for somewhere near Uttoxeter area but it’s not a given that we’ll be able to stay in the area.”

ROAD users in and around Uttoxeter have been having their say on plans to turn the A50 into a ‘growth corridor’.

Hundreds of people attended Tuesday’s public consultation on the plans at Uttoxeter Racecourse.

They saw first-hand where the new junctions and roads would be built in town.

And opinion was split about the benefits the project would bring to Uttoxeter.

Stramshall resident David Brisbourne said: “The scheme will mean I may have to take a slightly longer route travelling to and from Uttoxeter, which will involve heading through Beamhurst, but that’s really a minor concern.

“Also, I don’t think any thought’s been given to pedestrians in terms of crossing the A50 near McDonald’s.

“There are currently traffic lights and a crossing in place there so those walking into town from Stramshall can cross safely.

“But I feel the benefits this scheme will bring to the area once it’s finished will far outweigh the negatives.”

Steve Swanwick, of Badgery Close, Uttoxeter, is one of those whose land may be acquired by the council as part of the project.

He said: “We’ve had the council out, as well as the district valuer, and they’ve said there’s a possibility they may need to acquire some of our land.

“They said they’d want no less than a quarter and no more than half of my garden.

“At the outset, I was concerned and, to be honest, a little outraged, but, in the grand scheme of things, the scheme will be fantastic for the town.

“The district valuer explained how the compensation will work and, depending on how much of my garden they want, we’re keeping an open mind.

“Once the building is out of the way, it’ll bring more industry to the town and, eventually, I think house prices could increase and that side of things gets bigger and better.

“However, we would certainly look at moving if they wanted any more than a quarter of the garden.”

Sue Burge, of New Road, said: “New Road will become the main through road now to access the A50 going north.

“We will all be trapped behind the new three-lane A50 with all the lorries from the biscuit factory and everyone else who wants to go north from the town coming down our 30mph road with narrow footpaths.

“This is of no benefit whatsoever to the townsfolk.”

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