HIGHWAYS England’s decision to give just eight days notice of the closure of part of Solihull Road for 18 months has brought a sharp response from local MP Saqib Bhatti.
In a letter to Highways England, the MP for Meriden said that it was ‘extremely disappointing’ that notification to residents for this 18-month closure had been provided less than a fortnight beforehand.
The plans would see Solihull Road closed between the B4102 roundabout at Barbers Coppice and Eastcote Lane until December 2022 to deliver roadworks for the M42 Junction 6 improvement scheme.
In expressing his concerns, Mr Bhatti said: “This will cause serious disruption for residents in Hampton in Arden and will have a
severe impact on local businesses which are only just getting back on their feet.
“Residents have already expressed concern that the diversion route will bring additional traffic onto small local lanes which are ill-suited for more vehicles.
He adds in the letter: “I understand from your notification that the closure intends to reduce the overall impact on the community but it is unclear how this being achieved other than causing massive disruption to residents and businesses alike who have been given little warning of such a major closure.
“From having spoken to local residents, I understand that during the original consultation for this project, residents were reassured that the road would not be closed.
“I am keen to understand why the position has changed and with little prior notification.
“What risk assessments have been carried out for the new route and expected traffic usage along these local roads?
“It is a rural area so how will farm machinery be accommodated to ensure continued access to their land and what discussions have been held with local transport providers who are now having to significantly divert their routes.
“I would hope that these plans are reconsidered given the severe impact it will have on the local community. I look forward to hearing about what further steps Highways England are proposing to take to mitigate the impact of this proposal on my constituents.”