Roundabout in Stafford 'unlikely' to be finished before business moves into new development

Work to create a new roundabout serving a major business site north of Stafford is “unlikely” to be completed before Pets at Home moves in, it has been revealed.

An aerial view of the new Pets at Home site being developed north of Stafford. Photo: Staffordshire County Council
An aerial view of the new Pets at Home site being developed north of Stafford. Photo: Staffordshire County Council

The national retailer is due to move into the new 670,000sq ft storage and distribution centre at Stafford North Business Park, off the A34, later this year.

Planning permission for the development, as well as a new access road and roundabout connecting with the A34, was granted in January 2021 subject to a series of conditions. These included the development not being brought into use until the new site access roundabout had been completed.

Off-site highway works were also required to be finished before the site was brought into use. These include a new shared foot/cycleway on the eastern side of the A34, a new footway on the western side of the A34, a new toucan crossing across the A34 to the south of the proposed roundabout, pedestrian crossing facilities across William Bagnall Drive and a new bus lay-by on the western side of the A34.

An application to vary these conditions was submitted to Stafford Borough Council in February. Technical approval for the roundabout was granted in late 2021 and a borough council report revealed “it has since become evident that the programme for the highways works agreed with Staffordshire County Council would stretch beyond the date of agreed occupation with the end-user”.

The report to the planning committee added: “The highway authority note that the development is due to be operational in October 2022 and, due to external factors, the access roundabout is unlikely to be built out in its entirety prior to first occupation of the site. The construction phasing means that the necessary pedestrian and cycle infrastructure improvements along the A34 would also be unavailable prior to completion of the new roundabout, and it is anticipated that both elements secured under (the previous) permission would be completed within 18 months of first occupation and likely to be sooner.

“Furthermore, it is noted that the western arm of the roundabout would be in place prior to first occupation and a left in/left out vehicular access would be provided. The existing pedestrian and cycle infrastructure along the A34 and through Redhill Business Park would provide users of the site with an alternative means of access whilst new facilities are being constructed and, on the basis that the majority of trips by foot or cycle would originate from Stafford, it is considered that this alternative provision in the temporary absence of the improvements secured under (the previous) permission is considered to be acceptable.”

Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee will consider the application to vary the conditions at a special meeting on Monday, June 6. The application has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

Work to create the roundabout began in February and is expected to take 18 months to complete. The construction is being funded by Stoford, the commercial property developer building the storage and distribution centre.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, David Williams, speaking in February, said: “This is a significant business development which will bring hundreds of jobs to Staffordshire. It is in a prime location with excellent connectivity on the A34 and close to the M6 J14.

“This will be a major road project but vital in providing adequate access to the development and maintaining good traffic flow to traffic on the A34. We understand that this follows on quickly from the junction scheme south of this site for the new housing development and would again thank people for their patience while work is carried out. “

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