Wednesday 17 July 2024
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Consultation to be launched over bus lane plans for ‘heavily congested’ A60

Members of the public and councillors will be consulted on plans to create bus lanes along the “heavily congested” A60 near Arnold before any changes are brought into force.

It follows concerns being raised from councillors in both the Labour and Conservative groups at Nottinghamshire County Council.

Some have labelled the idea “unbeneficial” to the motoring public.

The council’s transport and environment committee reviewed the plans at its final meeting on Wednesday (May 4), with funding for the proposals to come from the Government’s Transforming Cities pot.

Initial plans had suggested three bus lanes would be created along the busy road on its approach into Nottingham.

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These were between the A60’s Esso petrol station and Arch Hill, between Appledorne Way and Cross Street in Redhill, and then along the nearby Oxclose Lane at its approach to Edwards Lane.

The plans were originally supposed to accompany a park and ride facility off the Leapool Island near the A614 junction, however, councillors were told the costs for this proposal have since risen from £2 million to above £9 million.

The park and ride facility, which aimed to get drivers off the roads and onto public transport, will now no longer form part of the council’s plans.

However, its omission led to concerns from some councillors that the bus lanes alone will not provide a solution to easing traffic along the A60.

Council figures suggest journey times between the large roundabout and Woodthorpe Road in Daybrook have risen by three minutes in the past decade, with motorists taking on average 13 minutes to travel this stretch of the road.

The bus lane and park and ride facilities were planned to bring this figure down and reduce the number of cars on the carriageway.

But councillors in the meeting said the updated proposals will not reduce traffic concerns without the park and ride facilities and have called for the plans to be rethought.

Councillor Michael Payne (Lab), who represents the Arnold North division, where the bus lanes would be built, spoke in the meeting to air his and residents’ fears about the plan.

He said: “The original proposal was for the park and ride and in principle, I always thought getting vehicular traffic off the A60 before it approached Redhill was a sensible proposal.

“Disappointingly, we’ve not ended up there, and we’ve ended up with a drastically-different proposal for bus prioritisation schemes through the A60.

“Anybody looking at these proposals would see that they will drastically alter the character of the Redhill community going through the A60.

“It’s questionable whether it would have any significant benefit to reducing congestion on the A60 and the fundamental question is, without the park and ride facility, how will bus lanes reduce traffic?”

Cllr Chris Barnfather (Con), who represents the neighbouring Newstead division, said he agreed with “99.9 per cent” of Cllr Payne’s points.

He raised concerns about the potential bus lanes being empty for the majority of the time and the frustration it could cause for motorists still caught up in congestion.

He said: “There’s nothing more frustrating for a motorist than to sit in a heavily-congested lane, to then look to their left and see an absolutely empty bus lane.

“There is little benefit to that. The benefits here of this scheme are well-outweighed by the disadvantages to the bulk of the motoring public.

“We can now go away and think again, to have a look at it, to listen to people who are going to be directly affected by whatever scheme we put in.”

Nottinghamshire County Council had originally planned to begin work on the three bus lanes following Wednesday’s meeting.

However, Cllr Payne and Cllr Neil Clarke (Con), chairman of the committee, agreed on a change in the recommendation to launch a consultation on the plans.

Members of the committee urged the authority to consult residents and councillors on all divisions and areas that regularly use the A60, including areas in Mansfield, Ashfield, Gedling and Newark and Sherwood.

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