10th Dec, 2019

Councillors set to approve HS2 offer to build new roundabout on major route through Balsall Common amid congestion fears

Les Reid 10th Oct, 2019

HS2 Limited is set to build a permanent roundabout on a major road through Balsall Common which connects Warwickshire with Solihull and Birmingham.

It follows long-running concerns among Solihull councillors about disruption and congestion from preparatory work for the high speed rail line in the village.

Ruling Conservative councillors on Solihull Council’s cabinet are being recommended by their officers to approve HS2 Limited’s application for the new roundabout on the A452 Kenilworth Road/Park Lane junction and an associated realignment of Park Lane.

Today’s agenda report by the council’s officers states: “As part of the development of the HS2 project the initial scheme proposed to construct a temporary roundabout on the A452 to provide safe access during the construction phase of the project.

“At the end of the project the roundabout would have been removed and the junction returned back to a simple priority junction.

“The scheme, which was approved by Parliament in 2017, also requires Park Lane to be re-aligned to create the space necessary for the railway line.

“As part of the Act-making process, the council successfully lobbied HS2 to provide the roundabout junction on a permanent basis.

“This approach complimented the road safety improvement work, carried out by the council in previous years, along the A452 corridor, to the north of Balsall Common; a route that previously had a significantly high road traffic casualty record.”

“… The proposed roundabout will help to reduce traffic speeds on this section of the strategic road network and will also reduce the safety risks associated with vehicles crossing

the high-speed dual carriageway through what is an historic agricultural crossing point on the A452.

“The scheme also comes with improved pedestrian and cycling facilities, better connectivity to the local public rights of way network and improved sustainable highway drainage facilities.”

The cabinet could later today vote to postpone a decision until next month, or refuse the application of safety grounds or harm to the locality.

But officers advise that an independent audit has not found any potential safety or additional congestion problems.

Their agenda report adds the HS2 design team has been working collaboratively with the council’s highway services team on the proposals.

Council officers are advising the “council has no grounds on which to refuse the application.”

It follows councillors’ and residents’ concerns over plans for nearly 100 lorries per day to ‘plough’ through Balsall Common village during preliminary works for the rail line – with many more predicted when main works begin.

The works are currently awaiting the outcome a government ordered review into the entire HS2 scheme, with costs spiraling to a projected £88billion and delays up to 2031 for phase one between London and a new HS2 Birmingham interchange station near the NEC.

Many lorries per day carry would carry heavy equipment up and down the Kenilworth Road (A452) to reach the Park Lane and Waste Lane works compounds.

The firm recently tabled new proposals for an alternative route down Hallmeadow Road for lorries ‘once main works commence’.

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