HC Deb 30 April 1958 vol 587 cc35-7W
Mr. G. Wilson

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what progress he has made on the proposed Preston—Birmingham motorway.

Mr. Watkinson

The difficulties of establishing an acceptable line for the entire length of this motorway are considerable and, to enable work to begin as soon as possible, I have decided to make the scheme for the length extending from Preston to south of Stafford, and to have the remaining portion of the route reinvestigated as a matter of urgency.

Following is a detailed statement:

Considerable difficulties have been experienced in locating a line of route that would be generally acceptable for the length of road from the area south of Stafford to the Birmingham conurbation. Moreover, the most recent advice from the mineral valuer and the National Coal Board indicates that the possibility of mining subsidence along a portion of this length is far more serious than was originally expected. In the circumstances, I have decided that this length of line must be reinvestigated and I have asked the consulting engineers, Sir Owen Williams & Partners, who were appointed to design the section south of Stafford, to undertake this examination for me. A full letter of explanation is being sent to all those who registered objection to this part of the proposed scheme.

2. In accordance with the powers conferred on me by paragraph 6 of the First Schedule to the Special Roads Act, 1949, I have decided to make the scheme for the remainder of the motorway, viz. from the southern end of the Preston By-pass to the neighbourhood of Stafford as far south as a point that will, in effect, complete a by-pass of Stafford, subject to a number of modifications. These modifications include minor alterations in the published line of route and slight alterations in the measurements of some of the bridge plans. Before coming to this decision, I most carefully considered all the objections which had been registered and all the representations which had been made. I also took note of the fact that in respect of this length of the proposed motorway no objection was sustained by any highway authority or other body upon whom I am bound by statute to serve notice of my proposals.

3. The modifications which I have decided to incorporate in the draft line of this part of the motorway are:

  1. (a) the elimination of the junction proposed at Runshaw Lane, near Euxton in Lancashire. I am proposing to substitute for this, in agreement with the local authorities, a junction slightly further to the north at Leyland. For this a draft variation scheme will be necessary which will be subject to the usual processes of statutory publication and objection:
  2. (b) a very small diversion of the proposed line which has been found possible to avoid demolition of property at Woolston, near Warrington:
  3. (c) a minor realignment of the draft line which has been found possible in order to reduce severance of agricultural lands in the area north of Newton-le-Willows.

4. The variation scheme referred to above will also provide for an alteration to the lay-out of the junction with Waterworks Lane, Winwick.

5. The majority of the objections outstanding, which I have decided that I must, under the powers referred to above, over-rule, relate to matters of access, severance, compensation and accommodation works on particular properties. They are more relevant to later stages of statutory procedure either when the Order under Section 3 of the Act dealing with proposed alterations to side roads and private access is published in draft, or when detailed negotiations for entry on to property begin. At the Order stage, all persons affected by the proposed alterations will have their full statutory rights of objection as for the draft scheme. Furthermore, all persons affected by entry on to and acquisition of property have statutory rights of objection and of appeal, if necessary, to an independent tribunal for assessment of compensation when negotiations begin. Detailed letters of explanation are being sent to all persons who maintained objection to the draft scheme in respect of this length of the line.

6. I have also decided that, in order to provide more detailed explanation of the reasons for my decision to proceed with the making of the scheme for the length of road from Preston down to Stafford, immediate arrangements shall be made for representatives of my Ministry to call upon all those persons who sustained objections to this part of the draft scheme. Mutually convenient dates will be fixed and I hope that the explanations that these experts will be able to give will show those persons affected that I have not only given the fullest and most sympathetic consideration to their objections but have taken into account as far as is at all possible in a project of this magnitude the representations made to me.