New M55 link hopes

Warton's Enterprise Zone needs a motorway link.
Warton's Enterprise Zone needs a motorway link.
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COMMUNITY leaders have welcomed news a new road could be built linking the Fylde with the M55.

The scheme is part of ambitious plans by Lancashire County Council to improve transport across the county.

Traffic congestion on the M55 after a van hit the central reservation.

Traffic congestion on the M55 after a van hit the central reservation.

Although the route is still to be drawn up the scheme – part of the ‘Better Roads’ initiative – would link the M55 near Bartle with the A583 and the A584 near Clifton, in order to support the new 
Enterprise Zone at BAE Systems site in Warton.

A six-week consultation will start in January on the plan which sets out options for major changes to highways and public transport to create conditions for economic growth and make sure predicted increases in traffic do not cause gridlock on the roads.

County Coun Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport on Lancashire County Council, said: “There is huge potential for economic growth in the area and it is essential people and goods can move around efficiently if we’re to make those jobs for local people a reality.

“To create the conditions for this to happen, and to make sure our transport network can cope with the extra demand, we need to look ahead now and begin to put together the case for the changes needed to support it.

“We already know where we want to build on our existing economic strengths to encourage expansion at certain employments locations, such as the two BAE sites at Warton and Salmesbury.”

Proposals totalling £275m of investment across the county are proposed. It will also include a £2m improvement to the Broughton interchange between the M55 and M6.

Coun Julie Brickles, who represents Warton on Fylde Council welcomed the proposed link road as long as it did not increase traffic through the village. She said: “I do believe the enterprise zone will only be successful if there are better links to the motorways.

“However I do not want to see anything which would lead to more traffic through the village.

“It sounds as though this link would be to the east of Warton, on the Freckleton side, which is where we would prefer the entrance to the enterprise zone to be.”

The draft document marks the start of a long-term planning exercise to decide the basis of future investment priorities, with a focus on identifying gaps and opportunities.