COUNTY highways chiefs have appeared to suggest problems with traffic junctions in Evesham are ‘unresolvable’, despite forking out £100,000 on a study to solve the town’s congestion problems.
The staggering admission was made in leaked e-mails, which have been seen by the Observer, between two officers from Worcestershire County Council’s highways department.
In discussing proposals from Hallam Land Management for 220 homes, a care home and business land to be built off Boat Lane, the officers revealed why they could not object to the scheme.
“As we all know there are problems with junctions around Evesham but they are, as far as I can see, unresolvable in any viable way and cannot therefore lead us to object to a site that is as close to the town centre and therefore as sustainable as possible,” the e-mail read.
The admission comes despite Worcestershire County Council spending £100,000 on a yet to be published traffic survey which aimed to tackle the chronic congestion plaguing Evesham’s roads.
As well as reviewing current traffic levels, the assessment was also set to look at the impact of future housing developments and project traffic levels for the next 15 to 20 years.
None of the findings has yet been revealed by county highways bosses who have uploaded the information gained into computer software which they claim will inform their decisions.
The leaked e-mail also reveals how highways officers believe the application would have a greater impact on Evesham’s traffic system if it was built outside the town centre
“If the housing were to be provided outside the town the traffic impact on the junctions is likely to be greater and therefore, as there is a requirement to deliver housing with the district, this site could be considered to have the least impact on those junctions as people do not have to access the town through those junctions,” the e-mail read.
In response Keep Evesham Green, a campaign group set up to oppose the development, blasted officers for ‘living in la-la land’ and said they were appalled by the comments.
“The South Worcestershire Development Plan Inspector said: “I recommend that the indicative site capacity should remain at approximately 200 dwellings.” ‘Remain’ becomes exceed and Highways allow it. Unbelievable.
“It should have been their golden opportunity for refusal to protect us from more misery at the heart of town.
“They acknowledge Abbey Road Bridge is “already over capacity”, their £100,000 traffic study isn’t even ready – but accept the developer’s assurance that traffic from this bloated development won’t impact on Abbey Road junction.”
A county council spokesperson said: “The Evesham Transport Model is very nearly complete, which will allow the testing of various options put forward to begin.
“It is being conducted to provide the evidence to explore what can be done to improve accessibility in Evesham, recognising that the town suffers from congestion at peak times.
“The process has provided essential information that will help the County Council to test options to address these issues, and enable testing of a range of different options to improve accessibility.”