Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Opposition to the Cathkin Relief Road

As you may be aware, the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal is proposing a new road-building project known as the Cathkin Relief Road at a cost of approximately £20m. I have met with the local campaigners who are calling for a halt to the plans. 

Footpath through the greenspace to be destroyed by the new road.

The reasons are listed in objections to the planning application for the road, CR/15/0087 (formerly CR/15/X0093/new). It is proposing the construction of the Cathkin Relief Road from the West End of Cathkin Bypass continuing to Fernhill Road/Mill Street, by South Lanarkshire Council. I have objected on the following grounds:

1.0 Loss of Amenity
The proposed construction of this road is on a Greenfield site which is regularly use for walking, dog walking, cycling, jogging, playing by children, as a through route to Nursery or Primary school. It is an open space used for recreation and offers community facilities for fresh air and exercise. 

There are no similar facilities within easy reach of the area and the loss of this ground for the construction of a road, would in my opinion be detrimental to the amenity of the surrounding area. This area of ground between Blairbeth, Fernhill and High Burnside, was turned into a park for the community, after public consultation in 2000, with the work completed in 2001. South Lanarkshire Council’s presentation drawing dated 4th October 2000 states: "The final stage is putting this plan into action. The result will be a park for all the community that provides for many different users and is a credit to your communities". The loss of paths and greenspace would be detrimental to the amenity of the area.

2.0 Loss of Visual Amenity
The proposed construction of this road would affect the visual amenity of the areas. The proposed introduction of sound barriers, 2.0 and 2.3 metres high, along major stretches of the road would have a detrimental effect on the outlook of many of the existing residential properties and would create a visual, physical and physiological division between Fernhill and Blairbeth/High Burnside. The proposed use of such visually incongruous barriers in a residential area would have the effect of enclosing areas and totally changing the open nature of the whole area and would have a negative impact on the visual amenity of the area.
3.0 Noise and Air Pollution
The proposed construction of this road would greatly increase the noise and air pollution in what is a quiet tranquil space which any local residents or visitors use for fresh air and exercise. For South Lanarkshire Council to claim that this proposal would improve air quality in the area is incorrect as the 2007 STAG Report identifies this as a major negative. There are three primary schools in the immediate vicinity of the proposed road and the increased air pollution will have a detrimental effect on children and is contrary to current government policy on the reduction of pollution near schools.
The proposed introduction of traffic into a quiet parkland area will result in an increase in noise pollution in a quiet residential area. The proposed use of sound barriers will be visually intrusive and will merely channel noise to the various openings in the barriers. The increase in noise and air pollution would be detrimental to the residential amenity of the area.
4.0 Impact on the Wildlife and Natural Environment
There is a considerable amount and variety of wildlife in the area of the proposed road including Foxes, Weasels, Deer, Bats, a large variety of birds including Owls. Many of these are protected by law as are their habitats. It is an offence to disturb bats or to interfere with birds during the nesting season. The proposed road would result in disturbance to and loss of the natural habitat for many of this wildlife. The considerable loss of natural green space, including an area of Bio-diversity, and the effect on wildlife and their habitat would be detrimental to the amenity of the area.
5.0 Impact on the character of the area
The proposed removal of the existing beech hedges along both sides of the existing Cathkin Bypass and their replacement with sound barriers, as shown of the proposed landscaping and sound barrier plan No 7, would be akin to vandalism on the area's heritage on a significant scale. The beech hedges have been in place for over 60 years and are a major part of the character of the area. Their removal would be detrimental to the amenity of the area.
6.0 Justification for The Proposed Road
The proposed road has been talked about for over 50 years but has not been previously built due to a lack of need. Latterly the Road was designed with the intention of bringing traffic to the new junction with the M74 Extension to be created at Glasgow Road just north of the Main Street/Mill Street junction. That junction and one other, were omitted for cost savings to allow the M74 Extension to proceed. Therefore a large part of the justification for this Cathkin Relief Road is now not there. Now that £21.6 million of potential funding is available through the new City Deal, sponsored by the Scottish and Westminster Governments, (although SLC have to fund in excess of £3 million of the cost), SLC wish to proceed with this project on the basis that it is part of the strategic transport plan. The traffic figures contained in the 2007 STAG report were compiled prior to the opening of the now opened M74 extension, which has seen a great reduction in traffic on both Blairbeth and Fernhill Roads. 

It is clear to all who live in the area that the traffic has reduced considerably and therefore the relief road is no longer needed.  The 2007 STAG Report examined 3 option packages, The Proposed Relief Road being package 3.  Package 3 was marginally favoured but this was based on an anticipated cost of £3.875 million.  The fact that the current anticipated cost is £21.6 million negates the justification for package 3. Traffic flow around the area could be improved by some redesign of junctions and the proposal contained in the Planning Application to alter the junction of Blairbeth Road/Mill Street/Fernhill Road and Croftfoot Road is an excellent example of this and one which I would be fully supportive of.
7.0 Flooding
The proposals indicate 4 large soak-away basins for the collection of surface runoff water. These soak-away basins will utilise much of the remaining green-space and will pose a risk to users of the area particularly children, will be unsightly and as such would be detrimental to the amenity of the area.

The closing date for objections is 10th June 2015.

Useful link:

Cathkin Relief Road Opposition Group - http://www.cathkin-relief-road.org.uk/

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