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Neston Town Council Calls For Major Improvements to A540 Junctions

Published: 5th December 2017 15:38

During November 2017, Neston Town Council heard from Mrs Pauline Fielding about the dangers at the junction of Raby Park Road and the A540 Chester High Road.

The Council also received a report from Councillor Ceri Lloyd and letters from two residents suggesting the need for an overhaul of the A540 junctions adjacent to Neston.

Junction of Raby Park Road and the A540A typically chaotic scene at the junction of Raby Park Road and the A540.

Mrs Fielding said: "I have been campaigning for 23 years, since my son Andrew was killed in a crash caused by a driver who did not stay at the scene and who was never traced. I am extremely grateful for the support of so many people over the years, including that of members of the public, Justin Madders MP,  Neston Town Council and the Trustees of Neston High School, which is sited a short distance from the junction.

"Incredibly, 23 years after Andrew died, the junction remains unimproved - and has become increasingly dangerous. I call on Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) to ensure that adequate improvements are made to the junction such as linked traffic lights that will help to prevent further death and injury".

Now Neston Town Council has added its weight to the cause by resolving to ask CWaC to undertake major improvements to install linked lights at the junction of Raby Park Road and the A540. It also resolved that the Independent CWaC councillor for Parkgate, Martin Barker, who was also at the November committee meeting, would take a question to the CWaC Full Council meeting in Winsford on 14 December 2017.

Neston Town Council calls for major improvements to the junction of A540 and Raby Park RoadCllr Martin Barker, Mrs Pauline Fielding and Cllr Ceri Lloyd.

Councillor Barker said: "I welcome the proposal by CWaC for limited improvements to the Raby Park Road junction. But if we are to make this important road safer and better for its users, a more comprehensive scheme is needed that coordinates the traffic lights at all the junctions to Neston and Parkgate from the A540.

"This has become increasingly important because of the redeveloped High School, the enlarged distribution warehouse, and the additional housing planned at Hinderton Hall. We need to look ahead at the future pressures on this road as well as reflecting on the experiences of the past, such as those of the Fielding family, which demand an effective response."

Councillor Ceri Lloyd added: "Pauline Fielding's heroic work to ensure that no more families have to experience the grief that she and her family have endured since 1994 is an example to us all. Neston Town Council has signalled its support for her campaign, and I urge residents of the borough to sign the petition before it is presented to CWaC on 14 December.

"The A540 is a vital link to the town and it is essential that it is made as safe as possible for all road users as a matter of urgency."

The petition set up by Justin Madders MP can be signed online here, or in person at Neston Town Hall.

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At 13:03 on 6th December 2017, Priz commented:
If a housing developer or supermarket had just been built in the area of this junction then I'm sure the council would have insisted on section 58 works taking place , like the ones done at the Cheshire Yeoman pub.A brand new school has been built and the volume of traffic alone is dangerous. Is it because the council would have to pay for the improvement and not a private developer ??? Something needs doing .
andy w
At 16:07 on 6th December 2017, andy w commented:
I like other people would love to see this junction made safer and it has been looked at by council engineers on more than one occasion and we have been told that putting lights at that junction would greatly increase the queues along the high road in the mornings and evenings. The cost to do this would be prohibitively expensive as well as not only will you need new lights there but the lights and all the cabling would need to be replaced at the top of Liverpool road and at Hinderton road to allow for the synchronization of the lights. Brian talks about the cost of roadwork's at two mills but this is highways England responsibility and is government funded and not the responsibility or paid for by CWAC. Priz makes a good point as well but the new high school is an academy and not funded or the responsibility of CWAC and although the new high school will take more pupils than the old one the extra traffic will more likely be minimal so if we had asked for a large donation towards road improvement it would likely have been rejected or we would have lost on appeal. All avenues are explored in situations like this and you can be assured a lot of work goes on behind the scenes but problems like this are never as black and white as they seem. We will look again at improvements but I wouldn't want to kid anyone that a solution will be found overnight
At 16:44 on 6th December 2017, Denno commented:
The main problem is the two way traffic at the junction of Raby Park Road and the A540,therefore, as a temporary solution,one way traffic down RB Road and along Drake Road to Liverpool Road is worth trying but Oh those speed humps! At present nothing is being tried which is wrong.
At 02:00 on 7th December 2017, Dan commented:
New User, One way traffic would make the situation far far worse. Of a morning Breeze Hill and Drake Road are already gridlocked as the roads only allow traffic to pass in one direction at a time due to them being residential roads. I try to navigate them myself regularly in the mornings.

Can you imagine sending all the traffic one way down those roads, then expecting hundreds of cars to pull out onto the already busy Liverpool Road. It would be gridlocked, chaotic and very dangerous.

What do you propose for parents travelling up from Neston ? Do they have to drive all the way up to Chester High Road before having to come back down Raby Park Road through the one-way system ?

What about the buses ? Do they have to come through the one way system too so we send large vehicles down the narrow residential roads along with the hundreds of cars already being sent that way and hundreds of school children who walk ?

Sorry but that idea would create far more danger for the hundreds of children walking down these roads on their way to school and it would not take long before we have a crash on the junction of Drake and Liverpool Road

At 02:59 on 7th December 2017, Denno commented:
Sorry Dan but nothing is more dangerous than the present A540 junction.When I come down Upper Raby Road I invariably turn left because it is too dangerous to try to cross or turn right.Similarly with Raby Road.I have the utmost sympathy for Mrs.Fielding and something must be tried even if it means putting traffic lights at the Drake Road and Liverpool Road junctions.
At 03:11 on 7th December 2017, Dan commented:
At the moment some of the School traffic comes from the Neston direction and the rest of the traffic (including the buses) comes from Chester High Road, turns around at the school / rec centre and goes back up Raby Park Road.

Your proposal is, as I understand it, to send all traffic one way down Raby Park Road and returning through Drake Road or Breeze Hill. So all the buses and cars that currently turn around at the rec will be forced through our housing estates ?

If the road is one way down Raby Park Road then people from Neston can't get up Raby Park Road so would have to go around your proposed one way system, so up Liverpool Road, along Chester High Road and down Raby Park road and then return along Drake Road.

I'm sorry but that sounds ridiculous to be honest. It only addresses the issue of pulling out of Raby Park Road onto Chester High Road and would cause chaos in our residential roads. It does not address the issue with drivers crossing from Upper Raby Road or trying to turn right into Raby Park Road from Chester High Road. The only way to address that is traffic lights.

If you are going to install traffic lights then why are you so against the idea of installing them on Chester High Road. What is the obsession with sending hundreds of extra vehicles on a magical mystery tour through our residential areas ?
At 03:37 on 7th December 2017, Dan commented:
Anyway we are going off topic here. The petition is to install traffic lights at this junction which is what Mrs Fielding has been campaigning for. The idea of a one-way system would never happen anyway, CWAC and the Highways Agency will almost certainly have objectives to route traffic away from residential areas where possible to meet clean air targets and reduce risk to residents. A solution that greatly increased traffic through these areas, including increased Diesel buses and potentially commercial vehicles too would never get approval.
At 10:50 on 7th December 2017, Peter commented:
The Two Mills improvements have been paid for by Highway England.
All users of the A 540 have a right to safety and this includes cyclists.
Over the years the dual carriageway from Neston up to Two Mills and Woodbank has seen 2 cyclists killed 10 seriously and 11 slightly injured.
I support Mrs Fielding. It took her many years to get the speed limit reduced to 40 mph on this section of road.
At 11:08 on 7th December 2017, Denno commented:
Dan - I am not against traffic lights at the A540 junction,far from it and it is probably the only practical solution that may not be as bad as we think.This situation has been going on for far too long so let us try something.Cllr.Williams please take note.
At 11:34 on 7th December 2017, Dan commented:
Giving it some thought, the traffic lights may actually help the traffic flow better rather than adding delay to the A540. Currently drivers are forced to pull out in small gaps which can lead to cars on the A540 having to break slightly which causes the cars behind them to do the same slowing the traffic right down.

Having lights in place will allow the cars from Upper Raby Road and Raby Park road to clear in one go , very similar to the lights by the Hinderton.

Widening that junction too would help. I find that when turning left from the A540 down Raby Park Road I have to slow right down to just a few miles an hour because the turn is so sharp, especially if there are cars waiting to pull out which makes all the cars behind me have to slow right down. If we could just take a bit of the grass verge away and widen the entrance to the junction it would make it much easier to turn.
At 11:35 on 7th December 2017, Dan commented:
Sorry Brake not Break in above.
At 12:01 on 7th December 2017, Denno commented:

Dan, I am in full agreement with you and the fact that there will be three sets of traffic lights within less than a mile is a minor hindrance and as you say not slow down the traffic and should prevent accidents so Cllr.Williams/MOT/ CwaC digitus extractus pronto because this issue has been left to fester far too long.
At 12:22 on 7th December 2017, Dan commented:
I would expect the lights would work using sensors in the road like many other lights further down the A540. If there are no cars waiting to pull out onto (or cross) Chester High Road then the lights will remain green on the A540 preventing any delay. The lights are likely to only change if a car approaches the lights from Raby Park Road or Upper Raby Road.

Anyone who drives down the A540 in the early hours of the morning as I do regularly will notice the lights are usually on green all the way down to the Hinderton as no cars are waiting to join.

Lights therefore are only part of the solution. Widening the junction for cars turning left into Raby Park Road would help too and could be done at the same time the lights are installed.
Alan P
At 12:26 on 7th December 2017, Alan P commented:
Because of the proximity of the neighbouring traffic light junctions at Liverpool Road and Hinderton Road, a roundabout may be a better solution to the problem of traffic circulation at this junction. But, certainly, something urgently needs to be done to improve safety and traffic flow at this spot.
At 13:00 on 7th December 2017, Poacher commented:
Stick a roundabout in and be done with it... Please no more unsynchronised traffic lights along the A540... Better still make the kids walk to school....
Susan C
At 13:40 on 7th December 2017, Susan C commented:
Good balanced response from Cllr Williams, and good to note that things are aired behind the scenes, which I think residents don't always understand.
Call me old-fashioned but I do support Poacher's last sentence - and it would be so informative to see just where all the cars were coming from. Maybe they are all from distant reaches of Wirral? Or maybe not. A good 30 min walk every morning wouldn't do any harm to the students, would be very beneficial in fact.
At 14:17 on 7th December 2017, Dan commented:
There wouldn't be enough room for a roundabout at that Junction considering the size of vehicles that would need to use it. Also a roundabout would constantly delay traffic on the A540 whereas traffic lights would remain green for some time enabling free flow of traffic while no-one wants to join from the side roads.
It's only me
At 15:25 on 7th December 2017, It's only me commented:
Just to provoke ridicule. As a temporary measure of x months block off exit /entrance to Upper Raby Road from Chester High Road to discourage through traffic from Raby Park Road. Any cross Wirral traffic to use existing roads controlled by traffic lights viz Quarry Road and Liverpool road. This would still allow traffic to turn in and out of Raby park Road. Would this helps the situation? - waits for residents fury!
At 18:30 on 7th December 2017, Poacher commented:
Dan, there's plenty of room for a roundabout, in the UK the min dimension for a raised roundabout is 28mtrs, cut down a few trees and away you go, incidentally there are several roundabouts along the A540 between Heswall and Chester, all of which handle the traffic volumes that would be encountered at Raby Road, another good point which favours the roundabout solution is that Goverment studies of roundabouts that replaced stop signs and/or traffic lights found that vehicle delays were reduced 13–89 percent and the proportion of vehicles that stopped was reduced 14–56 percent.
Roundabouts have also been found to reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 15–45 percent, nitrous oxide emissions by 21–44 percent, carbon dioxide emissions by 23–37 percent and hydrocarbon emissions by 0–42 percent. Fuel consumption was reduced by an estimated 23–34 percent.
Surely all of the above is good enough reason to bin the lights proposal and importantly minimise the pain that will result if lights are installed at this junction.
At 19:55 on 7th December 2017, Denno commented:
Sorry Poacher but Dan is correct.All that you can put there is a 'Roundal' like Bull Hill/Burton Road which is a menace to negotiate .Just imagine a 12 wheeler trying to negotiate any type of roundabout. The best answer is Dan's traffic lights and of that there is no doubt so in Churchill's words in WW2 "Let it be implemented" and the sooner the better!
At 21:18 on 7th December 2017, Dan commented:
The big advantage of lights over a roundabout is that if programmed correctly they can remain green for the Chester High Road traffic when there is no traffic wishing to pull out of the side roads. The lights on the High road junctions with Mill Lane and Hadlow Road work like that so for the majority of the time the traffic will flow freely without having to slow or stop. The lights will only change when traffic is waiting to pull out onto chester high road.

If a roundabout was even possible, every vehicle would have to slow and potentially stop as they would not know if traffic was approaching from the right until they were at the roundabout. That means every car will be decelerating and accelerating so surely that would cause more pollution and far more traffic jams at busy times.

Also I'll let the campaigners have the credit for suggesting traffic lights :-) I don't particularly like the idea of more lights either but I think they are essential now to prevent further accidents and loss of life at that junction
At 17:51 on 8th December 2017, Poacher commented:
Anyone travelling along the A540 from mill lane towards neston at rush hour will know the stop start pain that is caused by the lights at the hinderton arms which backs upto leahurst most nights of the week, adding another set of lights at Raby road will only compound and worsen it, god help us........
CO Jones
At 08:00 on 9th December 2017, CO Jones commented:
Walk more. Or cycle more. Or run. Or take a bus or train.

Stop getting in the car to drive into Neston when you live in Neston.

Drop a point on a map at the cross in Neston and look how much of the town sits within a mile of the centre. The vast majority are a 15 minute walk from the shops but drive in. Always

Change the mindset and behaviours. It is not just about the junction this article covers. It is about a population getting increasingly lazier and then moaning about the consequences.

Root cause analysis. Take a trip to Amsterdam / Copenhagen. Open your eyes and do something different. Just don't always default to the car!
CO Jones
At 08:03 on 9th December 2017, CO Jones commented:
And anyone who drives their children to Neston High School who lives within that magic mile needs to unwrap said children out of the cotton wool.
wirral cyclist
At 18:29 on 13th December 2017, wirral cyclist commented:
Sadly again those who complain about traffic are the cause of that traffic, the road was there along time before the various depots and factories where built or the school rebuilt, and it probably coped ok, sadly nowadays most residents want to drive even very small distances, because of the mistaken idea propagated by the media that the roads are unsafe to walk or cycle on.

What is needed is a redesign of this junction with traffic lights to slow the traffic down, and with proper central islands and pelican crossing to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross, yes it will slow traffic down, it may cause a bit of congestion, but refer back to the first paragraph and its you the traveling motorist who is the cause of that congestion, so leave the car at home walk, use public transport or cycle.
CO Jones
At 19:15 on 13th December 2017, CO Jones commented:
Agree with much of the sentiment but am conscious of the impact distance commuting has had on towns like Neston.

If you carried out a survey 30 or 40 years ago and asked how many people commute to Manchester for work, the % of the population would be significantly less than it is now. A 50 or 60 mile each way commute is typical for many professionals. These are journeys that cannot realistically be done on public transport for a myriad of reasons. I do it 3 or 4 times a week. An hour in the car or 2.5 and punishinly expensive on the train.

Last job was a cycle ride to Queensferry along the Marsh. Great commute, hateful job.

Society needs to reduce the short car journey's but have no idea how the work commuting can be realistically reduced. It's ludicrous how lazy we are becoming but car use volume on the roads is only going one way....Unfortunately
Paul D
At 07:02 on 14th December 2017, Paul D commented:
A good start would be having the Highways Agency correct the mistake they made when the road was last resurfaced. The solid white line is now on the side of the traffic driving away from the junction, and the broken white line on the approach to it. This wouldn't alleviate the the issue at hand, but it would at least not be a slap in the face for Mrs. Fielding, which the current situation is, given it makes the junction more dangerous than it ever was, especially when the junction is not busy, which, from memory, is when that accident happened.
At 17:51 on 14th December 2017, SHric commented:
The real problem is simply far too much traffic. The number of children being taken to school by car, and for that matter bus is ridiculous. This traffic is not only killing people directly but thousands more due to the pollution. Yet people take their kids in the car because they think its not safe to walk or cycle. Holland has a climate like ours yet virtually all kids walk or cycle to school. They have invested in facilities since the seventies and we need to see that here. When my daughter was at the High School ten years ago we were told the school and council together were working on an ambitious plan to provide safe routes to school, yet nothing has happened since then. We need to find a way out of our increasing dependence on cars before they kill us all. Traffic lights on this junction may slow down the traffic, but in my eyes that would be a good thing, not a bad one!

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