Road to nowhere? Route could be closed for good

Dead end:  The blocked off Midgeland Road. Below Coun John Jones
Dead end: The blocked off Midgeland Road. Below Coun John Jones

Highways bosses are considering keeping a rat-run road closed for good even after long-awaited repairs are completed - in a bid to appease complaining residents.

Blackpool Council has shut off Midgeland Road at its junction with crumbling Division Lane on the St Annes/Marton border while Lancashire County Council decides if or when the Division Lane section it is responsible for will be resurfaced.

Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council

Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council

Work was supposed to begin on the repair of Division Lane last month but was delayed at the 11th hour after residents complained that if it was fixed, they would be inundated with more traffic.

The road, which is connected to the moss road, was already closed despite no work beginning - with motorists forced to use Queensway and Common Edge Road as a diversion.

Now Blackpool Council says it may never re-open that end of Midgeland Road even when County Hall finally complete the work after consulting local residents who have been angered by speeding motorists.

A spokesman for Blackpool Council said: “We are considering a number of options for long-term solutions for managing traffic flow in the area, one of which could be making Midgeland Road access only.”

Prior to the moss road being closed, many commuters used the route via Division Lane and Midgeland Road to get to work in Blackpool each day.

When asked if residents’ views were being treated more importantly than those of motorists, the spokesman added: “Every decision the council takes involves balancing competing priorities and interests and all points of view are considered.

“In this case there were very serious concerns about the volume and speed of traffic on a very narrow road due to other issues in the area.

“A decision was taken that tackling these concerns should be prioritised as, in the worst case scenario, they could result in serious injury or even, in the worst case, loss of life.

“Midgeland Road is not classified as and was never designed as a through route.

“The current diversions aim to keep traffic flowing on the network using roads more suitable for the volume of flows we are experiencing, hence the use of Progress Way and Common Edge Road.”

Coun John Jones, cabinet member for streets and transport, added: “I am sure this is a very frustrating time for residents and motorists which is not helped by the situation seemingly changing every day.

“I’ve witnessed first-hand the problem that residents were facing and I promised to find a solution.

“Midgeland Road is currently closed at its junction with Division Lane. In the event of Division Lane re-opening to through traffic we would seek to put in measures to continue the closure of Midgeland Road.

“This is a long-term issue that will only be completely resolved when the new M55 link road is complete.”

Lancashire County Council says work will only begin on fixing Division Lane once leaders have again spoken to residents on Division Lane - talks it hopes will take place before the end of September.

County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We will be having further discussions with Blackpool Council regarding traffic management within the Division Lane area. Discussions have already taken place with local residents and further discussions are planned before we finalise any decisions.

“We’re planning to re-open this road as part of our responsibility to maintain the public highways - how and when this happens will be part of the discussions with local residents.

“Regardless of the situation on Division Lane, work is still continuing on the M55 link road including ongoing negotiations and discussions with relevant parties.”

Earlier this summer it was confirmed £2m of Government cash would go towards the M55 link road between Whitehills Business Park and Cypress Point in Ansdell. Work may begin on that next year but no scheduled date has been set.