There is no doubt that one of the biggest problems Worcester faces in the coming years is congestion.
With many new housing developments such as the Grove Farm development to the west of the city, the new properties on the former site of Worcester City’s St Georges’s Lane or the controversial Gwillams Farm development in Claines it is clear that the problem is going to get worse and not better.
On top of this, Worcester has an incredibly antiquated road system with little room for road widening projects or new roads to be built in the centre. Many solutions have come up over the years. These include:
1) Duelling the Southern Link Road
2) Building a New Bridge
3) Completing the Northern Link Road.
Whilst 2 and 3 would be fantastic for the city and do a lot to address the issue, in the current economic climate with cuts to local authorities it is not plausible for the time being.
The possibility of duelling the southern link road however has seen some progress. There is a proposal for a £70 million investment into the project which would see it come to fruition.
Whilst this is blatant pork-barrel politics from a Worcester Conservative party who were struggling in the local polls at the time, it is none the less a welcome announcement and has seen a cross-party consensus develop between all parties – except the Greens.
On Monday at the Cap N Gown Hustings, Green Party PPC for Worcester Louis Stephen said that the money could be ‘better spent elsewhere’.
Whilst I agree that the project will not solve the city’s congestion problems entirely as some are suggesting, it is no doubt a part of it and a move in the right direction. It seems as thought the Greens are simply disagreeing with everyone else for the sake of it – so they seem different to what they call the ‘indistinguishable’ Westminster parties.
If we are to solve our congestion problems, we need to come up with a long term approach that involves all three of the points mentioned earlier. Of course two of them are currently unfeasible but that does not mean that they will remain so in the future.
Mr Stephen is right when he says public transport needs to be beefed up and the closure of the Perdiswell Park and Ride was a mistake but this cannot be the only solution. If we are to really address the issue we need to have multiple projects planned over the long term as one project alone cannot do so.