Friday, January 23, 2015

News: Council prepares new plans for Waverley Link road

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A new road to improve access to the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and the £100m Waverley development in Rotherham is back on the agenda, with Rotherham Council hoping to find a less controversial route.

On the site of the former Orgreave colliery, Harworth Estates is progressing the biggest brownfield site development in South Yorkshire, covering 741 acres, an area bigger than Sheffield city centre.

Over a development phase of 20 years, the site will see the establishment of a new community of around 4,000 homes, shops, restaurants, schools, leisure facilities, health and community centres and parks. It also includes the AMP and large areas of the region's Enterprise Zone.

The £8.57m Waverley Link Road was to be a 1.2 mile long single-carriageway joining Highfield Lane and Retford Road to the South of the development, but government funding was denied in 2012. Residents campaigned successfully for the Woodhouse Mill Recreation Ground, which is owned by Sheffield Council and part of which was on the proposed route, to be dedicated as a "Queen Elizabeth II Field" and will be managed as a recreation ground / playing field for continued public benefit.

A £21m route over the River Rother and railway line was previously discounted on the grounds of cost and the ideal route proposed by planners was to cross the river and the Yorkshire Water sewage works. However, Yorkshire Water stated that this £10m route was unacceptable to them as it affected future expansion of the Sewage Treatment Works.

In 2013 the SCR Local Transport Body published a list of schemes which would have the biggest impact on jobs and economy in the Sheffield city region. The Waverley Link Road is one scheme of two schemes in Rotherham which appear on this list. The total funding available for the Lower Don Valley Waverley package is £51.1m, which could also be used to widen the Parkway to dual 3-lane.

A £30,000 contract is being put in place for consultants, Systra to provide detailed modeling for the Waverley link road that will help Rotherham Council submit a bid for a slice of the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund (SCRIF), a framework of funding streams to deliver essential strategic infrastructure to increase economic growth and jobs in Sheffield City Region.

As part of the Growth Deal with central government, £119.5m (£56.8m from the Local Growth Fund and £62.7m of previously announced large scale transport funding) was secured for the SCRIF.

Matthew Lowe, engineer at Rotherham Council, said in a report: "As the Waverley New Community development progresses there will be increasing pressure on the surrounding highway network. Waverley Link Road is proposed to relieve this pressure and if no bid is made traffic problems in the area would become worse."

The council hopes that work on the scheme could start in 2017.

The SCR Local Enterprise Partnership is already looking at the next round of government funding via Growth Deals. The partnership's priorities include some transport projects including making up the shortfall in the Bus Rapid Transit System between Sheffield and Rotherham that is already £8m over budget and a year behind schedule.

Waverley website

Images: Harworth Estates

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