Highways England’s frustration at the lack of vocal support for a controversial road scheme on Merseyside is revealed in information released following a Freedom of Information request.
The A5036 Port of Liverpool access scheme is a proposed dual carriageway between Princess Way, near the port, and the Switch Island Interchange, where the M57 and M58 motorways end.
The new road will relieve the existing A5036 but is controversial, particularly because it will pass through the Rimrose Valley Country Park. A campaign group, Save Rimrose Valley, is fighting the project.
Peel Ports, the owner of Liverpool port, is a supporter of the new road. In an email sent to Peel in July 2018, an unnamed Highways England official said: “We are appreciative of Peel’s support as we are struggling for high profile advocates elsewhere.
“Others seem to be unwilling to publicly get involved in what is seen to be a local political issue despite being positive about the scheme behind closed doors.
“This is proving to be incredibly frustrating when the majority of the benefits will be hugely beneficial to Liverpool and the wider city region, and is potentially putting the whole scheme at risk.”
Sefton Council brought an unsuccessful judicial review challenge against Highways England in 2018 over its failure to include a tunnel option in a consultation (LTT 05 Mar 18 & 08 Jan 19).
Highways England’s website says a Development Consent Order application for the road is due to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate later this year. The project cost range is cited as £163m-£335m.
Construction is envisaged as commencing in late-2022 at the earliest, with completion in 2025.
Protestors are continuing their campaign to stop the road. The project’s website includes a recent statement saying: “It has been brought to our attention that some notices have been posted at the Beach Road entrance to Rimrose Valley Country Park claiming to come from Highways England. These notices are fake and have not been posted by us.
“We assume these have been posted to spread alarm and confusion. Please be assured that we currently have no works planned for Rimrose Valley, and no plans to close any of the entrances.”
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