‘STILL questions to be answered’ before residents will get behind plans for 700 houses and a school in the town, Uttoxeter’s MP has said.
Andrew Griffiths spoke out after it was revealed that a £40 million project to help traffic flow on the A50 in Uttoxeter would mean that people living on the proposed St Modwen development, on land to the west of the town, will not have to drive through the current estate.
The plans comprise of up to 700 homes, an area which will incorporate 10 hectares of employment space and will benefit from a new first school, sports and recreational facilities, a small retail centre and the provision of open green space between the A50 and Bramshall Road.
A planning application for the development has been submitted to East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning department for the new houses.
Mr Griffiths told the Post and Times that he welcomes the improvements to the A50 but he thinks this is not enough to change residents views on the houses plans.
He said: “The A50 improvements will make a massive difference to the whole bottle neck we see around Uttoxeter.
“However, there are many objections to the St Modwen development and whilst the improvements to the road network may overcome some of them, there are still questions to be answered before they win the backing of local people.”
Initially local residents and closest neighbours to this major housing development formed an action group to combat the worst features of the new build and they have been joined by Mr Griffiths and Geoff Morrison, who represents the Uttoxeter ward on the Staffordshire County Council, as well as the authority’s leader Philip Atkins after speaking with residents.
However, Councillor Morrison has now said these new plans will overcome one of the biggest issues residents opposing the plans had.
He said: “I know a lot of residents, particularly in Tunnicliffe Way, are concerned about traffic being diverted into town and residential areas.
“But, having seen detailed plans for the A50 development, I think that will effectively solve the problem and keep traffic on the dual carriageway.
“If you look at the population of this town, it hasn’t really grown significantly in the last 150 years.
“Census material has shown there were 6,000 residents in the 1850s and now there around 10,000.”
The work to the major road network will be carried out in 2014 and will involve building flyovers across the A50 at the McDonalds and Derby Road roundabouts.
The plans for the land west of Uttoxeter will also consist of a new pedestrian and cycle links to the town centre to provide a run through the adjoining residential area.
The developers have said existing mature trees and hedgerows scattered through the site will be retained and enhanced.
The proposed site is currently agricultural land that has been earmarked for development and is designated in East Staffordshire Borough Council’s Preferred Options document for a mixed use scheme.