Fears high speed buses will go ahead despite opposition from residents - The Solihull Observer

Fears high speed buses will go ahead despite opposition from residents

Solihull Editorial 16th Apr, 2019 Updated: 16th Apr, 2019   0

RESIDENTS have hit out at the consultation for a new high speed bus service fearing plans will go through despite widespread opposition.

As we reported, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) bosses last month issued updated plans for the first Sprint rapid bus routes in the West Midlands following public consultation.

The new tram-style vehicles will provide fast and reliable journeys along some of the region’s busiest roads, they say.

A new route will run through Solihull and along the A45 into Birmingham.

But the altered route has done little to allay concerns that it will negatively affect Hobs Moat Road.

Hobs Moat Road resident and member of the Elmdon Community Awareness group Veron Graham said: “From what I have heard, the issues with the plans are a worsening traffic bottle neck at Hobs Moat Road and Coventry Road junction, slowing traffic towards town centre.

“As well as the devaluing house prices, extending journeys by making slip roads one way or blocking them off altogether – and increasing carbon emissions and cutting back on trees and green spaces.

“I have lived locally for 12 years and the first I heard of this, was when a neighbour informed us.

“Yet, the organisers claim and continue to claim that it canvassed local opinion.

“We would hate to think that we are being led along the garden path to help them rubber stamp an arrangement that, despite the appearances, is already a done deal.”

But bosses say there will be a full road safety audit and a new pedestrian crossing on Hobbs Moat Road.

Liberal Democrat councillor Laura McCarthy said she has been contacted by scores of residents about the changes.

She said: “The Sprint proposal will see huge changes to the Hobs Moat Road including moving the service road on the Lyndon side and the loss of some beautiful trees on the corner of Melton Avenue and Hobs Moat Road.

“Residents are very concerned about the impact these significant changes will have on them and the environment they live in; its important that TfWM listens to every resident and ensures that these concerns are reflected in the plans going forward.”

TfWM has reiterated its pledge that the service will be delivered by 2022.

A TfWM spokesman said: “There will be no significant change to traffic capacity at the Hobs Moat Road and Coventry Road junction as the existing number of lanes for general traffic are being retained.

“An update on the proposals for Sprint was published in March and this included a commitment to minimise loss of trees and green space and replace any that are lost

“We are committed to carrying out additional engagement in the area and are working with the local councillors to arrange an event for residents in May, so that revised proposals shaped by the views and comments of local people can be presented and discussed.

“All affected residents will be given the opportunity to give feedback on the changes and we will, where possible, amend the design to mitigate any issues.”

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