Councillors clash over access road to proposed Dudley business park
Councillors have clashed as a major industrial development in Pensnett was given the green light – despite objections from residents who feared it could make local roads unsafe.
The application for an access road to the proposed business park off Dreadnought Road was passed by Dudley Council's planning committee this week – just three months after an identical plan was thrown out.
But members of the development control committee clashed after one councillor complained they hadn’t seen all the documents.
The scheme by Hinton, Perry & Davenhill Ltd was rejected in May after residents voiced fears over traffic safety and an increase in heavy goods vehicles along Dreadnought Road and Tansey Green Road.
At that time, councillors were told there had been 12 collisions in the last five years on local roads, with half being associated with speeding or alcohol and 100 per cent involving driver error. Three quarters of the incidents happened outside of peak hours.
But in its new application, the company submitted a road safety audit which stated the access road would not have have a significant impact on traffic.
Councillor John Martin said he supported the overall plans – but complained that he had not been given a copy of the audit.
He said: “For me to consider the road safety audit seriously I would had thought that the report would have been made available to every councillor on this committee before this evening’s meeting.
“My first question is where is the road safety audit and my next question would be why hasn’t that not been provided to councillors before this meeting?”
In response, council officers said it’s findings had been summarised in the application presented to the committee.
Councillor Andrea Goddard, chairman of the planning committee, defending council officers, hit back saying: “The road safety audit is actually available online. As a member of the committee you should already know that.
"When the agenda comes out – you research.”
But in response Councillor Martin said it wasn’t councillors’ roles to search out evidence which should be provided.
Saying he supported the overall plans for the site he added: “I cannot support the access that goes along with this application. It is the wrong place and it should not be on Dreadnought Road.”
The application was approved by five votes to four.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Judy Foster said residents were disappointed but still hopeful their fears would be addressed.
She said: “I will be speaking to the applicants to look in detail at finding alternative access not on Dreadnought Road.”
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