/ News / Major Preston road scheme enters next stage

Another crucial milestone has been reached towards the delivery of a major new road scheme on the west side of Preston and a new junction on the M55.

Major Preston road scheme enters next stageLancashire County Council’s Cabinet has agreed to the necessary steps to assemble the land needed to deliver this major road scheme, which includes a new 4.3km dual carriageway to the west of Preston connecting the A583 Preston to Blackpool Road at Lea with a new Junction 2 on the M55. There’ll also be with a 3.4km long East-West Link Road connecting to Lightfoot Lane, and Cottam Link Road linking to Cottam Way.

This is by far the largest transport project in the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal.

Following the Cabinet’s agreement, the county council will make and advertise side roads and compulsory purchase orders for land and rights, as well as changes to the existing highway network and two bridge schemes, as the new road will cross the Lancaster Canal and the Millennium Ribble Link.

No houses are taken or will need to be demolished for the scheme, with three gardens affected and a single business which requires the agreed relocation of some buildings. The vast majority of the land affected is farm land or used for equestrian purposes.

The Cabinet meeting took place on Thursday 1 February.

This major road scheme is identified in the Central Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan and in Preston’s Local Plan to support the delivery of over 5,000 new homes in the North West Preston housing area as well as improving access to the strategic motorway network and major employers at the Enterprise Zone in Warton and Westinghouse Springfields Works at Salwick. It will provide critically needed new road capacity, relief to Junction 1 of the M55 and surrounding roads, as well as east-west routes through the city centre.

A new parkway rail station is planned on the Preston-Blackpool line at Cottam, which will take its access from this road scheme.

Together with other major road investment in the area, this scheme will allow for bus priority measures, public realm enhancements and cycling and walking provision on existing routes.

County Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “This scheme will create three new roads on the western side of Preston, from the M55 towards Blackpool Road and Riversway. This will benefit residents and businesses not just in the local area, but across Preston, South Ribble, large parts of the Fylde coast, and further afield.

“We’re already talking with landowners to see if they will agree to sell or grant us the necessary rights by agreement. This is an important stage in the process as we can only begin construction once we have the land we need.

“A new M55 junction will reduce congestion by creating more capacity on the network, in particular at Broughton roundabout at Junction 1 of the M55 and on the local roads around it. It will also improve access on the west side of Preston, so that people don’t need to use narrow country lanes.These roads will also support new housing and business development in the area. There will be opportunities for new bus priority measures, improvements to local public spaces and initiatives to encourage walking and cycling.

“There are many important stages to go through when building any road, which takes time to carry out. Making these Orders and getting confirmation from the Secretary of State will help us to keep our plans moving along.”

Planning permission was granted for the construction of the scheme and the associated ecological mitigation measures on 4 October 2017.

The total estimated cost of the three roads in this scheme is £189.45m, which will be met from a combination of public and private sector funds. This would include £58m of Lancashire’s Local Growth Fund which would specifically support the new dual carriageway to the west of Preston.

The Growth Deal funding recently received the conditional approval of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), meaning a full business case for the scheme will now be prepared which will go to both the LEP and the Secretary of State next year. If approval is given by both, construction could start by the end of 2019.

Graham Cowley, Chair of LEP’s Growth Deal Management Board, said: “Improved connectivity and better transport infrastructure is a key priority for the LEP and the government’s Northern Powerhouse programme, and this scheme will help to unlock massive economic potential throughout central Lancashire. Such transformational project, which can spark growth, create jobs and kick-start new investment opportunities, are also exactly what the Local Growth Deal Fund is designed to facilitate. This is why the LEP has granted conditional approval for £58m of funding towards the Preston dual carriageway element of the scheme, allowing this package of proposals to move forward.”

Highways England will provide £25m towards the cost of a new motorway junction. There’ll also be contributions secured from new housing development across the area and other local sources of funding.

The scheme is predicted to deliver high value for money with £2.29 in benefits for every pound invested in its delivery. It also has the potential to boost the local economy by £144m over the 60-year evaluation period, principally through unlocked development.

It is the largest transport project in the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal programme and one of several major road schemes in the City Deal.

The City Deal is an agreement between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, along with central government and Homes England.

City Deal will help to deliver new infrastructure, new homes and more jobs over the next ten years. It will help to create more than 20,000 new private sector jobs and see over 17,000 new homes built across the area, along with new school places, open green spaces and new health provision to cater for the growing population.

Find out more on the City Deal website and stay updated on City Deal schemes by following @LancsCityDeal on twitter.

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