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/ The Councils lack of planning leads to an uncertain future
The Council has had to concede during a recent planning application that its current Local Plan cannot effectively protect the future alignment of the Northern Relief Road because there is currently no approved route and the policy drawn up for the up and coming LDF (Local Development Framework) which seeks to protect an area of search for the road is also unenforceable until the LDF is adopted.
This means that until the adoption of the LDF it is unlikely that a development proposal could be prevented on these grounds alone and this indeed proved to be the case with an application for an extension of Hempstead Farm in Tonge made by GH Dean & Co Ltd which has now ruled out the original central route as an option.
What’s worse still is that the realignment of the central route should it ever happen will now result in the demolition of properties and compensation payments being made to the very applicant whom created the need to change the route in the first place. And yes it’s you and me as taxpayers that will foot the increased costs.
You might well ask how on earth we ever got into this mess, after all the Northern Relief Road has been around for many years and it was a significant part of the Local Plan. During the creation of the Local Plan the Council attempted to circumvent the Highway Authority and go it alone preparing and consulting on their own routes. This in effect was worthless and a complete waste of time and money because the results have no planning status what-so-ever. The Highways Authority also took exception to this which created some friction during their own consultation which was subsequently rejected by the public.
The Council’s lack of safeguards in planning for the final leg of the Northern Relief Road is sure to haunt them for years to come.