CONTROVERSIAL proposals to create hundreds of new homes on part of a former army camp could be under threat according to the leader of the council.
The warning over the second phase of development at the former Saighton army camp site, near Huntington, came from Cllr Mike Jones after local residents submitted a new petition over a new road scheme at the former Sainsbury’s roundabout.
More than 2,000 people signed the petition which calls for an “urgent” independent review of the A41/A55 junction, at the Boughton Heath roundabout, which was replaced with a so-called hamburger roundabout about a year ago.
Commercial Estates Group (CEG) was ordered to reconfigure the roundabout to cope with the extra traffic generated by its Saighton Camp housing scheme, which includes hundreds of homes, 5,500sq m of employment space and new community facilities.
Phase A of the development, involving 349 homes, has yet to be built and if the application for phase B is successful it will involve a further 295 houses.
But concerns have been raised the roundabout has increased traffic problems, made the area more dangerous for road users and has brought businesses in the area to the brink of bankruptcy.
Work also began yesterday to resurface the area after engineers had discovered the asphalt used in the multi-million pound project was “substandard” and needed replaced.
Campaigners from People Revolt Over Unsustainable Development (Proud) submitted the petition ahead of the meeting, which calls for an assessment of the Boughton Heath junction on surrounding roads.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) leader Cllr Mike Jones told members the roundabout scheme could be a “material consideration” for planners considering the proposed second phase of the Saighton Camp development.
He also urged residents to submit their concerns by September, when planners are due to consider the application for the second phase of the project.
He said: “The council remains focused on requiring the developer to fulfil their obligations and continues to emphasise the strength of local feeling so they are in no doubt the current state of the junction’s operation remains unacceptable.
“Ongoing discussions between our skilled and experienced highways engineers and the highways consultants acting for the developer have identified a number of improvements. They have also identified a number of problems with the new surface which is why it is being replaced.
“It is a particular concern to me the developer and their contractors are accountable for the quality of work,” he added.
“If the junction is not working successfully now without the additional traffic such development would bring, it is only correct we should have concerns about the future.”
Local councillor Pamela Hall told members following completion of the new junction the council’s safety auditors had carried out a full audit which indentified the need for additional safety works. She said: “I am delighted that at last these safety improvements will start.”
She added: “I fully support all the petitioners an independent survey must be carried out.”
Fellow local councillor, Mark Williams, said any review should be paid for by the developers, but should only follow the assessment of the full effects of the required changes and completion of the extensive Gas Alliance works in Boughton.
He said: “Also I believe that the onus should be on the contractors to prove to CWAC that it meets the model set out at appeal. It is not for CWAC to show it doesn’t. Of course, if they can’t, then we may need to reconsider our position.”
The petition was presented to council by James Holroyd, who told members drivers were trying to avoid the junction taking rat runs round unsuitable roads.
“I can give you two examples of effects of this junction, one in Christleton Village where the traffic flow in peak times has increased 40 per cent since 2010 when the council undertook a survey and on the A41 coming from the Waverton from the south to the junction the tailbacks are now very often in the rush hour over a mile long."
“None of this happened before the new junction was created,” said Mr Holroyd.