Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Knowle relief road idea finally scrapped

A LONG-MOOTED plan to build a by-pass through Knowle has finally been shelved.

Click the headline or link below to read the rest of this story.

Council bosses are to drop the “bypass improvement line”, also called the Knowle Relief Road, that would have connected the Warwick Road either side of Knowle by cutting through the west of the village.

But controversial plans for hundreds of houses have stayed on the table with more homes now proposed and a question mark hangs over a Waitrose plan for Knowle.

Touchwood in Solihull would also be extended.

Similar by-pass schemes for Hockley Heath and Balsall Common are to be axed by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC).

The council previously retained the by-pass ideas for further analysis but said the plans would cause too much damage and cost too much.

They are not needed as electronic signs to manage traffic on the M42 have “proven highly successful in reducing congestion and delay to motorists whilst increasing journey time reliability” a council report says.

It says: “The focus of transport investment has shifted significantly since initial consideration of the bypass lines.

“Given the impact of the current economic climate, and the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is considered no longer appropriate to deliver large scale, costly transport improvements in the form of new roads.

“Transport policy is now focused more towards the management of travel demands, encouraging a shift away from car use and towards public transport, walking and cycling.”

The works could also remove too much traffic to be “detrimental to the vitality and viability of the centres” it adds.

The move is part of the process to finalise the council’s core strategy plan, which will set out what the authority will allow to be built to 2028.

And this now proposes more homes for Knowle with 115 planned for Middlefield, a field to the back of Arden School, instead of the 90 consulted on.

A further 100 are planned for Hampton Road, to the back of Knowle Primary School, and 150 in Four Ashes Road. A developer has already moved to build on the latter.

The Conservative-controlled council said the Knowle homes are for “newly forming and downsizing households”.

It adds these should be allowed by 2018 to make the case for expanding Arden School, which it says will be oversubscribed by 2013. Developers would contribute to expansion costs.

But The Knowle Society has objected to the scale of the plans, saying it would swell the village’s 10,000 population by 1,000 and impact on services.

A question mark also hangs over the influence the strategy will have on a Waitrose application for Knowle, which the council will decide on in the new year.

The council said the strategy has yet to carry “significant weight” as it has not been approved when approving a Sainsbury’s plan for Dorridge last week.

Campaigners argued the Sainsbury’s plan should be thrown out as the strategy does not earmark a supermarket for Dorridge or Knowle, classed as “local centres” by SMBC.

And the latest draft of the strategy says: “It is not generally anticipated that there will be a need for significant new retail floorspace in local centres but their role in providing accessible local services needs to be sustained.”

Yet the Sainsbury’s plan was approved despite the above.

The strategy also proposes 250 homes for Blythe Valley Business Park, 300 in Solihull town centre and 100 at former Powergen offices on the Stratford Road.

Touchwood shopping centre would also be expanded with High Street buildings demolished near Drury Lane.

The revisions will be consulted on next month.

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  1. Woodchester Road Resident7 December 2011 at 08:36

    It is a matter of regret that this article, which is headlined to be about the Knowle bypass, then returns to the Sainsbury's topic. I get the feeling that the editor of this site is anti-Sainsbury's and this should be made clear in a statement.

  2. The story is about the core strategy. The core strategy covers a huge range of issues, inluding the by-pass, housing and supermarkets. That's why Sainsbury's is mentioned.

  3. The core strategy clearly isn't worth the paper it's written on!

    If you think a local journalist highlighting local council inconsistencies is "pro-Sainsbury's" Woodchester Roadie, what would you rather they wrote about?

    How about features on local celebs - "Bev Bevan has new conservatory fitted"...


  4. Give it up Matthew!! It's gone!

  5. The Sainsbury's battle may be gone, but the fact that the council are self-serving and undemocratic will blight us at least until the next local elections.

  6. Well, I hope the council are more efficient sorting out Sainsbury's traffic problems than they are choosing a sign for the road near Arden School.

  7. Anybody think that The Knowle Society should have the strapline 'We fear change'?