18th Apr, 2021

Solution to crossing Droitwich's Westlands island a step closer after council meeting

A SOLUTION to the issued of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Westlands island could be closer after it was raised at Worcestershire County Council’s latest meeting.

Coun Richard Morris asked the authority’s cabinet member for highways Coun Alan Amos for a progress report.

He was told an options assessment report for the junction was completed last year and several ideas had been looked at.

One was for the crossing to be just before the roundabout from Westlands Road to Kidderminster Road – a well-trodden route which leads to several popular shops, including Aldi, Lidl and B&M Bargains.

The issue is not so much congestion on the island but more the speed of motorists and walkers and cyclists finding a safe place to cross.

The underpass takes people to the King George V Playing Fields but means people have to come back on themselves to get to the shops.

Both a fly-over and footbridge were mooted but they are expensive.

Another idea – put forward by the Droitwich Spa Civic Society – was for the crossing to take people diagonally across the island.

Mike Hayzelden from the Civic Society said: “The main problem is with crossings on the slip roads is that it brings traffic to a standstill.

“By putting the crossing on the island and synchronising the traffic lights to provide a gap, vehicles are already moving slowly and would be more mindful of pedestrians.

“People would then be able to cross the first section, walk across the roundabout and then negotiate the second crossing.

“You could also have a cycle path across island as well.”

Coun Amos said all the proposed options used toucan crossings, additional footways and / or signalisation of certain roundabout arms.

“The indicative cost of a scheme involving the provision of two toucan crossings, improvements to and upgrading of the footway to 3m shared width, lighting and drainage is approximately £465 000.

“This costing is an estimate only at this stage and would be confirmed as the scheme develops.”

Although there is currently no timeframe, the proposals are being put forward as part of the South Worcestershire Development Plan review which means they will be acted on when the funding is available.

Because it is assisting active travel – waling and cycling – it means the scheme has a better chance of being eligible for funding, including from Section 106 contributions – cash developers are required to provide when building in the area.

Coun Morris added he was glad things were moving in the right direction and said he had received some positive feedback from residents about finding a solution.

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