MORE than a thousand residents have come forward to make their voices heard on multi-million pounds to improve the A50 - with changes made to the plans as a result.
Staffordshire County Council said that residents, businesses and commuters are helping to shape the ambitious plans to help improve the A50 Growth Corridor, which are expected to recreate more jobs for local people in the process.
The council held two public consultations in Uttoxeter inviting people to have their say on the plans and around 900 people walked through the door.
More than 40 per cent of those who attended exhibitions said they used the A50 on a daily basis and 68 per cent agreed that steps needed to be taken to tackle current congestion problem faced by commuters.
A further 350 people had their say by submitting their comments online.
As a result of the consultation, the council said that after listening to what people had to say they had agreed to some amendments to the original plans.
These include the retention of Parks Restaurant, improvements to cycle and foot paths and it will also carry out a detailed traffic review.
The authority said it is proposing to improve the trunk road to support the creation of around 8,000 jobs, the development of 1,800 homes, ease congestion and improve road safety.
Following a public consultation and exhibitions in Uttoxeter the county council is now using their feedback to finalise its planning application for the first of two projects.
Project A will focus on the improvements to the west of Uttoxeter and will see the creation of a new junction to support more housing and a new business park, while improving accessibility and safety.
If approved, work could start on this project in December 2014.
Mark Winnington, the authority’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said he was delighted so many people had taken the time to take part in the consultation.
The councillor said: “These projects are excellent news for communities and businesses alike and I am delighted so many people have taken the time to share their views.
“In the long-term the improvements will help support the creation of jobs, cut congestion and make the A50 safer for travel, so it is important we all work together to reap the maximum benefits of these projects.
“The majority of people are in favour of the investment and almost 70 per cent of those who gave us their feedback at exhibitions agreed action needs to be taken to tackle the current congestion on the A50 in particular.
“Their views are shaping our planning application for Project A and will continue to work closely with residents when it comes to looking at the second project in greater detail.”
If Project A is approved and completed, highways engineers will then examine proposals for Project B which will focus on improved safety and reduction of traffic delays by the removal of two roundabouts and the creation of a new junction to the east of Uttoxeter.
Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, said: “The A50 is a key corridor connecting Stoke-on-Trent to Derby and this investment is much needed not only to support the local economy but to help make this busy dual carriageway safer for motorists.
“Delivering improvements to infrastructure on this scale is course not without its challenges and it is important that the views of local people are listened to and continue to help shape proposals and the plan’s progress.”
A planning application is due to be submitted on Project A this month – with Project B being explored at a later date.
More information on the investment is available by visiting the website at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/a50growthcorridor