Monday, November 5, 2018

News: Transport issues over £40m Rotherham MSA

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Transport officers at Rotherham Council have been convinced that proposals for a new motorway service area (MSA) on the M1 would not have a severe impact on the local road network.

However, Highways England has asked for any decision on the plans to be delayed and the applicants behind rival proposals for an MSA in Sheffield continue to object.

Applegreen plc, a major petrol forecourt retailer in the Republic of Ireland with a significant and growing presence in the UK, submitted outline plans for Junction 33 of the M1 at Catcliffe in Rotherham in 2017. The proposals would create 300 jobs.

Highways England, the Government-owned company that operates, maintains and improves England's motorways and major A roads, initially asked for further details on the proposals and its impacts on the M1 and the A630 Parkway.

Currently scrub land on either side of the motorway, the plans, produced by Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson, are for HGV parking and amenities to the north of the M1 with customer parking and amenities for other motorway users to the south of the M1, via an underpass. The site is zoned for mixed use and previous plans for a hotel and pub were approved but never implemented.

Now an updated transport assessment has been published with further modelling of the motorway junction undertaken to assess the impact of the development associated with the likely increases in traffic in the local area.

Including updated data now that the M1 is a Smart motorway and updated modeling, the applicants have assessed the number of vehicles that are likely to visit the services and the effects of any mitigation.

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£1.4m was secured from the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop plans for the area. Work has taken place to widen exit slip roads and roundabouts at Junction 33 and Rotherham's capital strategy includes a £45m plan to widen the Parkway to three lanes between the M1 and Catcliffe. The MSA proposals have been developed to ensure that the A630 scheme can be delivered to programme and can progress independently or in parallel with the developing access strategy for the proposed MSA site.

Access to the site is set to be via a new entrance on the Rotherham side of the roundabout passing through an area of Greenbelt. The exit is via a proposed connecting slip road to the south of the site, which leads back to the Sheffield side of the roundabout. Following discussions with Highways England and the Council, updated plans include an additional entry lane to the junction from M1 northbound and extra lanes to help with queuing.

Steve Brown of the Council's highways team states that the measures proposed will reduce the level to which the motorway junction is over capacity and reduce the delays to vehicles travelling through the junction. Regarding the Rotherway roundabout at Canklow, the "residual cumulative impact on this junction would not be regarded as severe."

Brown concludes: "While any additional trips on the road local to the site may be within the theoretical daily variation they will have a modest and incremental adverse impact on congestion and the movement of traffic. There are proposals to mitigate these impacts at the Motorway junction with complementary works aligned with the Parkway scheme, as well as the travel plan which proposes an insignificant reduction in single-occupant car use.

"On balance the traffic impact of the development is expected to be slight when compared to the impact of background growth to 2030."

Highways England has again asked for a decision on the application be delayed for a further six months, adding that there "are outstanding traffic and transportation matters being considered."

Rival operator, Extra MSA, has been in a long-running planning battle for a site at Smithy Wood in Sheffield. Regarding the Rotherham plans, Extra MSA believe that "Junction 33 is not a viable or deliverable location for a MSA" and that the updated transport assessment "does little to allay our concerns and continues to present a flawed position with regard to the impact of the development on the highway network at and around Junction 33."

Applegreen website

Images: Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson

1 comments:

Martyn Benson,  November 5, 2018 at 1:38 PM  

So Ikea are allowed to create major additional traffic at Meadowhall but this [service area] traffic (which would already be on the M1, i.e. not additional) might cause problems - justifying objections by a potentially Sheffield based business. Well, well - I think we have been there before - e.g. objections to cinemas at Catcliffe (Rotherham). What is it about Sheffield and the 'beggar my neighbour' attitude? Think about: original (stupidly located) South Yorks. airport, Catcliffe cinemas, HS2 - to name just some issues.

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