A period of up to 15 minutes is allowed for members of the public to make a comment, ask questions or present petitions. Each member of the public has up to 3 minutes to do this. A councillor may also present a petition on behalf of a member of the public.
The Chairman welcomed Mr Bob Powell to the meeting, and advised that, in line with the Council’s process for managing petitions, the petitioner had 3 minutes to present his petition. Members were advised that as the subject of the petition was also addressed in a Motion due for consideration at the meeting, the subject matter would be debated at that point in the meeting.
Mr Powell thanked Council for providing him with an opportunity to speak on behalf of the Whitford Vale Voice group, which had organised the petition on behalf of residents living on the western side of Bromsgrove and beyond. Residents who had signed the petition had been concerned for some time that the western route around Bromsgrove, through Catshill, Stourbridge Road, Whitford Road, Perryfields Road and Fox Lane was becoming an established alternative to the B04091 route through Worcester Road, Market Street and Stourbridge Road in the town centre. Mr Powell expressed the view that congestion on the Perryfields Road junction with Kidderminster Road, during peak times, had often overlapped congestion on the Fox Lane junction with Rock Hill even 10 years previously.
Members were informed that when residents had become aware that there were plans for housing development off Whitford Road, Whitford Vale Voice had been founded with the primary objective of seeking the introduction of a Western Relief Road, as proposed in paragraph 31.5 of the Local Plan. This was proposed when land at Whitford Road, Perryfields and Norton Farm had been redesignated as land for development, in order to divert through traffic from the existing western route.
Residents had calculated that the 490 dwellings in the Whitford Road planning application would translate into an additional 800 vehicles using Whitford Road and Fox Lane. Many of these journeys would take place at peak times which would exacerbate congestion levels.
Members were asked to note that at present there was nowhere else for vehicles in the western part of Bromsgrove to go, unless through the town centre, which could be congested, or by using the Perryfields Road and Whitford Road route. Planning consent for 1,300 dwellings and industrial units proposed for Perryfields would further exacerbate the situation. Furthermore, Members were informed that the proposed Perryfields spine road would force drivers to use either the town centre route or residential streets instead. For example, Mr Powell commented that this could include the undesirable use of Broad Street, which had traffic calming measures, All Saints Road, which had extensive on street parking and Millfield Road, which was narrow and without pavements.
Over the years developers had suggested amendments to the existing road system in order to address concerns amongst local residents about the impact of development on traffic and congestion. However, residents had been concerned about the potential effectiveness of these measures.
In the petition the signatories were asking for a Western Relief Road route to be included in the District Plan review. Members were advised that time was critical but it would not be too late to designate this route so that the land required would not be subject to development.
Mr Powell concluded by stating that the only satisfactory solution to the issues raised by the petitioners would be the introduction of a Western Relief Road.