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Monday, 12 November 2012 (3032547)
Campaigners distance themselves from Thornton relief road comments
by David Simister

CAMPAIGNERS in Sefton have distanced themselves from comments highlighting the proposed Thornton relief road as a threat to the countryside.

In last week's edition we reported on a list of proposed road schemes highlighted by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) as being a threat to the countryside, and comments from Sir Andrew Motion, the group's president. However, members of the organisation's local branch, Sefton CPRE, have told The Champion that the current proposals are less damaging than previous schemes, and stressed that they are not behind objections which have led to the scheme being put under review by the Government.

Nick Thompson, secretary of Sefton CPRE, said: “Every week the Sefton CPRE group examine all new planning applications. Three members of our group look to see if the proposed development is in the right place, of the right quality, what local communities want, and does least possible damage to the countryside.

”Where we have concerns, often because the development is in valuable green space, we then identify what grounds the planning committee has either to turn the application down, or to add conditions to the approval which will mitigate against any harmful or intrusive elements of the development.

“We fully support Sir Andrew Motion’s comments about damaging and unnecessary new road schemes, and we would prefer that investment in transport is prioritised for public transport, walking and cycling. In this case we acknowledged that the proposed scheme is less damaging than previous proposals and that there are no easy solutions here, so did not put in an objection.”

The proposed road would be called the A5758 Broom's Cross Road and run from near Jospice in Thornton to Switch Island, where it will connect with the M57 and M58 motorways.

While both Sefton Council and the Government have previously given their support to the scheme, the project has been delayed after a public inquiry was called by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin last month.

Nationally the Campaign to Protect Rural England has flagged up 100 miles of planned roads across the north west, including a road to bypass Ormskirk in West Lancashire, and plans to create a new Runcorn bridge over the River Mersey.


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