M55 link talks continue

Land near Queensway

Land near Queensway

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Talks to bring forward the construction of a major link road from south Fylde to the M55 are ongoing, according to the county’s highways chief.

Lancashire County Council’s highways and transport cabinet member County Coun John Fillis said the building of a link road from St Annes to the M55 remains a key priority.

County Coun John Fillis

County Coun John Fillis

The road is set to be built by Kensington Homes as part of the construction of the Queensway housing development.

The road is expected to be built in phases linked to the number of homes developed.

But after being guaranteed £2m towards the project from the Government – cash which is only available until the end of this year – authorities have started talks to bring forward the construction of the route.

County Coun Fillis said: “There is a proposal agreed to planning that Kensington would develop a new link road.

“The county council has said ‘we will develop it and bring it forward’ and Kensington pay us back.

“We are having difficulties securing taxpayers’ money for the total amount we want to put in.

“We have asked for guarantees from Kensington Homes and they have said ‘we will build the road anyway’ and do not necessarily want to give the guarantees we are looking for.

“We are still pressing and having discussions with Fylde Council and Kensington Homes.

“Our position is we would like to bring it forward. They want 10 years to do it in, we think it could be five years.

“We thought it would be a benefit to everyone but Kensington Homes have plans in place. You can’t blame them if they stick to that.”

The building of the link road is crucial for motorists in south Fylde after the closure of Wild Lane in 2013 due to safety concerns.

It has left only two major routes – Queensway and Clifton Drive North – for drivers to travel between St Annes and Blackpool.

County Coun Fillis said if talks do not progress, LCC will have to decide whether to go ahead with the project, to wait for the link road’s eventual development by Kensington Homes or restore Wild Lane at a cost of £1.5m.

He added: “In terms of Wild Lane we know what we need to do. As far as we are concerned we are planning for all possibilities.

“Kensington have made their position quite clear. They may change their mind and see opportunities on offer to bring the project forward.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies added: “I attended a meeting about the new M55 link road and was pleased to see everyone working so hard to get the project underway as soon as possible.

“This road is one of my biggest priorities and I was delighted when I secured £2m of Government funding to get the project off the ground so I will keep pushing to get things moving quickly.”

A spokesman for Kensington Homes declined to comment.