It’s been going on longer than Brexit, but it too could be about to be resolved by a Conservative majority leadership following elections earlier this year – yes, it’s the Toll Bar Roundabout saga.
When the former Labour administration announced their plans to improve the junction in 2015, I’m sure they didn’t realise just how much work would be required or that the reaction from the public would lead to four years of stalling.
The controversy has previously been quoted as one of the main issues which led to the downfall of former council leader Ray Oxby and, subsequently in May, a number of his fellow party members.
Now, on Monday – the day before Christmas Eve, campaigners will be hoping Santa’s elves will bring them their festive wish and choose a different option.
The options are:
- Replacement of the existing roundabout with a fully signalised crossroad. This £2.2 million scheme was previously agreed under the former Labour council, however caused controversy among residents and campaigners with more than 10,000 signatures handed into the authority against the plans. It was halted when the Conservatives took power in May’s local elections.
- Retain and enhance the roundabout including widening the Station Road East and West approaches to increase the number and length of lanes, including two “ahead” lanes along the A16.
- “Significant” enlargement fo the roundabout, including three lanes the entire way round and the creation of signalised pedestrian crossings. This would be achieved by taking additional land from housing to the south-west and Tollbar Academy. It would be the most expensive option at £4.4 million.
Council officers, despite the backlash from the community, continue to push the former administration’s plans as the best option going forward.
However, members may be swayed by the slightly cheaper alternative – and not just financially.
So will campaigners get their top present or a lump of coal in their stocking? – DANIEL JAINES
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