A couple of weeks ago I found out about the plans to build a new stretch of by-pass between Broad Oak Roundabout and the A59 in my home town of Penwortham (1). In The Central Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan this is referred to as ‘Completion of Penwortham By-pass’ (2). Since then I have walked the accessible parts of the route on the map in order to see first hand where it will go and visualise its impact.
Beginning at Broad Oak Roundabout, courtesy of South Ribble Borough Council
The new stretch of by-pass will begin to the south west of Broak Oak Roundabout.
It looks like the entrance road may be hereand the exit road here.
It willl then head across this scrubby field of oak saplings, thistle and dock, over which I saw a buzzard circling today.
Then it will bear west and straight to the A59.
New Stretch of Penwortham By-pass, courtesy of South Ribble Borough Council
The beginning of the route will cut through a wooded footpath that begins as a track at Nutter’s Platt and runs alongside Mill Brook (pictured south of the by-pass). One part bears left to join Lindle Lane, the other right to join Howick Moor Lane. The trees include oak, beech and hawthorn. The plentiful brambles are covered in blackberries. This path is a frequent throughfare for long tailed tits.
The by-pass will then run across a series of fields, which are divided by trees and hedegrows (important wildlife corridors) and currently used for pasture.
It will finally run through the playing fields of All Hallows Catholic High School. They have been offered compensatory land closer to the school.
All Hallows Playing Fields
It will end with the Proposed Roundabout, between Blackhurst cottages and Howick CE Primary School.
Proposed Roundabout, courtesy of South Ribble Borough Council
Admittedly, this route is preferable to the rescinded route, which would have brought about the destruction of much more land and five houses.
However I can’t help feeling angry about the way the value of the economic growth and development of human society has come to win out against the value of the living landscape and its inhabitants. That whilst the human community has been consulted nobody has thought to consider that the birds and wildlife may not wish to leave their homes even if they are provided with others, that the planting of more trees is no real compensation to the trees cut down, that the land itself might not want to be dug up and subjected to the turbulence of another road.
What’s more, a later part of the plan is to link this stretch of by-pass to a new bridge over the river Ribble and a valuable piece of salt marsh. The issues surrounding this will be explored in a later post.