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Morecambe Town Council Condemns Link Road Plans

John Freeman
Morecambe Town Council has overwhelmingly objected to link road orders issued by Lancashire County Council as it continues its plans to press ahead with the controversial and increasingly hugely expensive road scheme that would see a new road built between the motorway and Heysham port.

On Tuesday, the Council voted 17-1 to object to the plans for the highly controversial Heysham M6 Link road, objecting to the Compulsory Purchase and Side Road Orders and requesting a reconsideration of all of the issues by a government appointed inspector. The grounds mentioned were inconvenience, loss of amenities, environmental damage, and adverse effects on residents, flora and fauna.

"Recent flood events in Cumbria, only a few miles from the catchment area of our River Lune, show that we must be absolutely certain that all the calculations have been done correctly," argued Councillor Roger Dennison, "or we could create similar problems here. This scheme must be looked at again."

Morecambe Town Council joins a long list of opponents of the scheme, including the district’s MP Geraldine Smith, Lancaster City Council, Friends of the Earth and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, and Transport Solutions for Lancaster and Morecambe, who represent the majority of the residents of the district who oppose the damaging and destructive road.

The Council's objections come hot on the heels of the revelation that County Council planners have completely missed out an important step in the statutory planning process required for their Heysham M6 Link road plans meaning they will have to go back to the drawing board - literally - to come up with new plans, adding further cost to the much criticised scheme (see news story).

Councillor Geoff Marsland said that he had spoken to a representative of the Government Office for the North West, who confirmed that this was exactly the sort of objection to the road plan they would consider seriously.

"This scheme is being driven by Lancashire County Councillors from County Hall in Preston," argues David Gate, chair of local transport campaign group TSLM. "It doesn't have Council support where it matters, in the north of Lancashire. Up here, everyone wants integrated transport plans which would bring together Lancaster, Morecambe and the University, by tackling local congestion and improving in town transport measures.

"No one wants a lorry generating ferry link road, which destroys the green belt and produces 23,500 tonnes of extra CO2 a year, at twice the cost of the integrated transport measures."

The road would also not alleviate local traffic problems between Lancaster and Lancaster University, with 'rush hour' traffic becoming an increasing problem in term time, affecting commuters and bus passengers alike.