Warrington Western Link
Over the last 10 years, Warrington has experienced significant economic development that has given rise to increased traffic congestion. To help solve this, the Department for Transport (DfT) awarded us funding to develop the business case for a potential new road, which would link the A56 Chester Road in Higher Walton with the A57 Sankey Way in Great Sankey.
To help the us develop our business case, public consultation was undertaken in 2017 in order to raise awareness about the proposals and get feedback on the potential route options. After taking into consideration public comments, the revised red route has been chosen as the recommended route for the Warrington Western Link project. The business case identifies how the route will help ease some of the town’s long standing issues with congestion by linking the A56 Chester Road with the A57 in Great Sankey, as illustrated below, and has the potential to unlock development land that has been poorly served by road infrastructure.
The project team undertook a number of technical assessments to produce an Outline Business Case (OBC). The OBC makes the case for the Western Link scheme and provides initial detail on how the we'd intend to deliver the project. This includes information on how the decision to recommend the preferred was reached, plus wider information and evidence to substantiate the need for the project. This wider evidence includes the outputs from the two rounds of public consultation, and further detail on the public consultation is available within the Statement of Community Involvement.
We've provided the following documents for your information:
- Revised red route option [pdf] – the preferred route option for the Western Link.
- Statement of Community Involvement [pdf] – a document that details the outcomes and results from the consultation activity undertaken as part of the project development process.
- Outline Business Case – this key document was submitted to the DfT as part of the funding bid. This documents detail the case for the scheme and how we intend to deliver it.
- Consultation FAQs [pdf] - some further questions answered.
Following Executive Board approval of the project team’s recommendation in November 2017, the Outline Business Case was submitted to the Department for Transport. Following approval of the recommendations in November 2017, the scheme became an official council scheme.
During 2018, the scheme was independently scrutinised by DfT and considered against other major infrastructure schemes across England, as part of their Large Local Majors Fund. In April 2019, we were informed that funding for the scheme had been conditionally approved to a value of £142.5m of the estimated total £212m build cost.
On 8 July, Council Cabinet agreed to accept the conditional grant offer made by DfT and progress work on the scheme over the next three and a half years in order to submit a detailed major scheme business case.
This next stage will involve a number of detailed activities as follows:
- Surveys and site investigations to inform the design process
- Detailed design
- Submission of a major planning application
- Acquisition of land and property rights either by negotiation or through a Highways Compulsory Purchase Order
- Completion of other statutory processes to enable the scheme
- Advance enabling works as required around statutory undertakers diversions and ecological mitigation
- Community engagement at various levels – which will occur throughout the development and delivery of the scheme and involve a number of formal consultations and ongoing dialogue with all affected stakeholders and residents
- Public Inquiry – it's anticipated that an inquiry will be required to confirm the planning permission for the scheme, a Highways Compulsory Purchase Order and other orders and consents needed to construct the scheme
- Complementary junction improvements – the Outline Business Case demonstrated that there will be a requirement as part of this next stage of works to review the requirements to bring forward a series of off-site highway improvements. These are required due to the fact that a number of junctions primarily to the northern end of the scheme have been shown to operate beyond capacity at the point that the new link was to open. These will need to be delivered in advance of the main scheme opening. Funding for these was budgeted for, within the outline business case submission, at a value of £5m and was included as part of Cabinet approval.
- Due to to the impact of this scheme there's potential for a loss of sports pitches at Morley Common, however when officers engaged with Sport England during the previous phase of development, they stated that new and improved facilities must in place prior to any loss. This could well be in the form of new or enhanced existing facilities elsewhere in the borough, however no definitive location has been confirmed and this optioneering process will be the first piece of work undertaken. A budget to replace any lost sports and play facilities was underwritten by Cabinet.
Cabinet have approved a funding package of circa £38m, along with a variety of delegated contract awards, to deliver this next stage of work, which is part funded by both DfT and ourselves.
Within this report an outline programme for the delivery of the Western Link which will constitute one of the largest engineering projects in the North West, was presented.
The key programme milestones are as follows:
- Seek Cabinet approval to accept the Department for Transport’s offer of grant funding and to authorise work required to move from Programme Entry to Full Approval: 8th July 2019 - COMPLETE
- Undertake procurement of specialist external consultants and contractors to support delivery of this stage of the project – to be concluded by late 2019
- Statement of Community Involvement / public consultation – mid 2020
- Cabinet approval for securing of statutory powers for the scheme – late 2020
- Submission of planning application: Autumn 2020
- Determination of planning application: Early 2021
- Public Inquiry – potentially during 2021
- Outcome of Public Inquiry: early 2022
- Completion of Full Business Case / Securing of Full Approval: late 2022
- Start of scheme construction: early 2023
- Completion of scheme construction: early 2026
- Project close out and evaluation: mid 2026 to mid-2027
Over the course of the next 6-9 months you may notice various surveys being undertaken in the areas affected by the preferred route alignment. These are being undertaken to inform the detail design and further correspondence will be sent out via email to all registered stakeholders.
Further updates on progress with the project will be posted here in the coming weeks. If you require any further information please email us or if you wish to register for regular email updates please subscribe to our mailing list.
The Western Link scheme may give rise to Statutory Blight pursuant to Part VI, Chapter II and Schedule 13 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), as a consequence of formally announcing the preferred route. For those residents who consider that they may have a claim for statutory blight, information is provided below regarding the formal process that should be followed. In order to avoid claims being unduly delayed, all claimants should adopt the process outlined in our Statutory Blight Process.
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