Monday, 11 August 2014

Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge and Steppingstone Group's proposed roundabout

I've been watching the debate on the Steppingstone Group's proposed roundabout for the Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge whilst I've been on holiday with my family in Tunisia.  In fact I sent a few emails about it whilst on holiday.

Today Lynn I have formally written to Steppingstone Group's advisers asking them to provide us, and the wider community with more information.  This letter, in fact, asks questions I've already posed to Steppingstone Group.  I've told them I intend to publish their answers.

This is the text of the letter:

11 August 2014

Dear Ms Smith  

Re: Steppingstone Group - proposal for a roundabout controlled junction near Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge - A56 and Clifton Road

Following on from Steppingstone Group’s (‘Steppingstone’) proposal for a roundabout controlled junction on the eastern side of the Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge and the consultations you have reportedly carried out we set out here some questions that we would like you to answer.  We believe answers to these questions are important so that the wider community can fully understand the basis on which Steppingstone has put the proposal for a roundabout forward.  With this in mind we are publishing this letter.

  1. A Cheshire West and Chester Highways Officer has made an informal assessment that the highways works that would be necessary to produce the proposed roundabout shown in your indicative layout would cost of the order of £2M.  Has Steppingstone costed the proposed works, and if so what figure does Steppingstone estimate the roundabout and all other associated highways works would cost?
  2. It is not clear from the descriptions provided by Steppingstone whether Steppingstone is offering to carry out the highways works itself, or to pay for them, or whether it expects Cheshire West and Chester Council (‘CWaC’) to carry them out at the council’s cost.  CWaC does not have c£2M available to pay for these works as matters currently stand, nor is it anticipated that this sort of funding would be available in the medium term.  So, so far as Steppingstone is concerned - how are the highways works to be carried out and who is to pay for them?
  3. Is Steppingstone offering to transfer the land on which the proposed roundabout and related approach roads to CWaC, and if so, on what basis?
  4. The land where the proposed roundabout is to be sited is in green belt - as are the surrounding fields.  The emerging local plan has not sought to change this designation.  Does Steppingstone link its roundabout proposal with the development of the surrounding land it owns?  If it does, on what basis and what if any development is in mind?  How does Steppingstone seek to demonstrate the ‘very special circumstances’ that would be necessary?
  5. What discussions has Steppingstone had with CWaC planners regarding any development proposals in this vicinity - and are any such discussions proposed for the future?
  6. I’m sure you and your client readily appreciate that the Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge is likely to be re-opened following its refurbishment in the autumn of 2014.  Whatever the outcome of CWaC’s consultation regarding the proposed traffic regulation order and the choice of configuration of the road junction on the eastern side of the Swing Bridge the roundabout proposal suggested by Steppingstone could not be implemented by then.  Does Steppingstone have a timetable in mind for the construction of the roundabout and any linked development?  

We confirm our willingness to meet with you and your client to discuss Steppingstone’s proposals.  We would be grateful if you would produce a response to this letter in a format that can be readily published.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Andrew Dawson Cllr Lynn Riley