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Ashbourne By-pass Consultation November 2020

November 25, 2020 11:11 AM

Traffic in St John St (Peter Dobbs)

St John's Street Ashbourne

Does the promise of a future by-pass have to mean no traffic improvements now?

In the much anticipated Derbyshire County Council Public Consultation (found here and also in a leaflet delivered to Ashbourne residents) we are informed that there are FOUR Options.

Two of these (Options 3 and 4) are by-pass routes that pass to the west and east of the town respectively. In the detailed information provided online we learn that we are in an 'early stage consultation' and any hopes that road building is about to take place are quickly dispelled.

With this in mind it does pose the very serious question that since Ashbourne does have severe problems associated with traffic congestion now - delays, air pollution, danger to pedestrians, unpleasant environment - what is going to be done about these as we wait for the by-pass?

One of the aspects of the current consultation that is hard to understand is the way in which the first two options are presented.

Option 1 is described as 'individual junction improvements' (without making the roads larger). This, we are told, is REJECTED. This seems strange since I have no recollection of being asked about it and yet DCC do want my opinion on Options 2,3 & 4.

It was conditional on exactly such a junction improvement that planning permission was granted for the David Wilson housing development off Old Derby Road. (As often seems to happen the condition was subsequently dropped without going to a planning committee).

It is also unfortunate since Ashbourne Town Team have very helpfully come up with some suggestions on possible improved road layouts (see here and here) that you would have thought would be worth some public discussion.

Option 2 is described as 'individual junction improvement outside the existing highway boundary and highlights two junctions where this might take place - Park Road and Sturston Road and the five way junction at the bottom of Derby Road'. Curiously we are given no detail as to how these improvements might be achieved and yet our opinion is sought.

It seems inevitable from the construction of the 'consultation' that it will reinforce the preference for a western by-pass amongst most of Ashbourne's residents, in the same way that wine lists in restaurants lead you to the second cheapest wine. What we hope it does not do is provide an excuse for inaction over the next few years on the very real problems that excessive traffic through Ashbourne's narrow streets is causing now.