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Largan column: 'Poor planning has let local people down badly'

High Peak MP Robert Largan.

In his latest column, MP Robert Largan discusses the current roadworks which are ongoing in the High Peak and calls for a rethink to the current annual funding model for councils.

Spring is a time for daffodils, newborn lambs and (less cheerfully) roadworks.

As councils reach the end of their financial year, the annual dash to spend budgets sees the nation’s roads cluttered with roadworks, diversion signs and temporary traffic lights.

When handled poorly, these roadworks can cause complete chaos and misery for commuters.

On occasion, common sense wins through. For example, earlier this year, I held talks with both High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council, to urge them to avoid temporary traffic lights on the A6 while Long Hill is closed. The original plans would have effectively left Buxton cut off from the rest of the High Peak.

Thankfully, both Councils have been able to co-ordinate to delay the temporary traffic lights on the A6, hopefully until after Long Hill has re-opened.

Frustratingly, Derbyshire and Tameside councils have not been able to work together to avoid a similar clash around Glossop, despite my warnings.

A month ago, I called on the councils to delay other roadworks around Glossop until the gasworks on Mottram Moor are complete.

Frustratingly, my advice was ignored and last week saw a series of additional roadworks begin at the same time that Mottram Moor is down to one lane for 20 weeks. This included Electricity North West works around Charlesworth, which meant that there were major roadworks on both roads out of Glossop and into Tameside.

Their poor planning has let local people down badly and caused complete gridlock in the area.

I have received hundreds of complaints from parents who were late dropping their children at school or from those ground to a halt on their way to work. Some have even missed hospital appointments. There is a safety aspect to the delays too, which would have impacted the ability of the emergency services to respond swiftly to calls.

In between meetings in Parliament last week, I spoke with the Council and Electricity North West to call on them to delay any further work in the area and alleviate some of the jam. I am pleased they have accepted my calls and agreed to delay further works in the area.

But this doesn’t change the fact that these roadworks should never have been authorised by the Council whilst the gasworks on Mottram Moor were taking place.

In future, councils must plan more carefully for the long-term. We need to rethink the current annual funding model, which leads to chaos at the end of every financial year.

This chaos also shows how important it is that we finally get on and build the Mottram Bypass, to prevent Woolley Lane and Mottram Moor being gridlocked every day at rush hour. I’m still pushing hard to get the bypass built, despite the absurd opposition of Glossop Labour Party.

At the same time, I’m campaigning for better bus services, the reinstatement of the full train timetable and for a railway station for Gamesley.

We can, and must, do better.

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