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Leek junction work not to go ahead

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: June 11, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

The St Edward and Church Street junction in Leek which has been the height of controversy over the last few months. Now the site is to be monitored for traffic usage over the next three years and a new pedestrian crossing built within the next 12 months

The St Edward and Church Street junction in Leek which has been the height of controversy over the last few months. Now the site is to be monitored for traffic usage over the next three years and a new pedestrian crossing built within the next 12 months

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AFTER months of wrangling approval has finally been given for the variation of conditions at a busy junction leading into Leek.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's planning applications committee last week gave permission for the work at St Edward Street and Church Street junction not to go ahead at the present time.

However a new pedestrian crossing will be build within the next 12 months.

The agreed work was part of the original planning permission gained by Sainsbury's in December 2010 to redevelop the nearby Churnet Works, off Macclesfield Road and should have been completed before the store opened.

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This included the right turn into St Edward Street from Mill Street being blocked, and a pedestrian crossing installed in Church Street.

Recommending approval of the application, which was submitted by Sainsbury's, planning officer Jane Curley said in her report: "A pedestrian crossing can be delivered in isolation from the right turn restriction.

"The county council will undertake the periodic monitoring of the junction over a three year period. If these surveys establish that the original 2010 traffic threshold are reached and congestion and delay is observed, then the council will undertake to implement the junction improvement."

Speaking to the planning committee Leek councillor Pam Wood said: "Before Sainsbury's obtained planning permission for their Leek store, I was one of the many people who warned that the roadworks were unnecessary.

"However, our concerns were ignored and the application was passed with certain conditions which included changes to the road system at the top of St Edward Street and, most importantly, the provision of a pedestrian crossing.

"People welcomed the inclusion of a crossing, and the sad death of one of our community has proved the need for one.

"I refer to the assistant coroner's report sent to the casualty reduction team at Staffordshire County Council. In it he says that there is a risk of future deaths unless action is taken.

"He goes on to say that the crossing facilities available in the vicinity of St Edward Street Church are inadequate. He also demands a response from the county council, detailing proposed actions and timescales.

"We must not grant this variation of conditions until we are certain that the much needed crossing will be installed in the immediate future.

"The work should have been completed before the store open. Had it been may be Mr Henshall could still be alive."

Councillor Mike Worthington said the issue was like a never ending saga.

He said: "I was opposed to the new road system in Leek from the start. I regret that someone has lost their life.

"People going to the Foxlowe would not use the crossing if it was near the church entrance. I would like to see it nearer the Foxlowe.

"Sainsbury's never wanted to get involved in the roads issue. It was the county council. There are hazards all around Leek because of the highways. Being a county councillor I am disappointed. I wished they had listened to local people."

Councillor Margaret Lovatt said the position of a new pedestrian crossing had to be looked at seriously.

She said: "The crossing needs to be higher up nearer to the Foxlowe."

Highway representative Paul Hurdus said that they had looked at locations and that the best place for a crossing was outside the church steps.

He said: "We found that a crossing next to the Foxlowe restricted visibility for drivers. If it was moved east then there is a crossing outside the council offices.

"There could be a bit of scope for moving it further up the road."

The variation of the condition to delete the work was unanimously approved by councillors on condition that negotiation takes place with Leek councillors regarding the location of the new crossing.

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