Drive for new city motorway junction

Motorway Bridge at Junction 33 (Galgate) of M6.
Motorway Bridge at Junction 33 (Galgate) of M6.

The Lancaster junction of the M6 motorway will move north under proposals to improve access to a planned university business park.

Under the plans, discussed in Parliament, junction 33 (Lancaster South) would be moved north of Galgate to ease pressure on the A6 through the 

Alternately a new junction – junction 33a – would be built providing more direct access to the greenlit £17m Health and Innovations campus plus accommodate housing development traffic in the area.

The proposals have been put forward by the Lancaster Economic Partnership (LEP).

Edwin Booth, Chairman of the LEP, said: “We are focused on creating the right conditions for economic growth and moving junction 33 closer to the university is one option that could potentially help by improving the transport infrastructure and relieving pressure on the A6 corridor.”

Prof Andrew Atherton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “The university would 
welcome a new motorway 
junction being positioned north of Galgate.

“This would not only provide welcome relief to residents of Galgate but also to those who commute to and from the city using the A6 and M6, including university staff and students.”

Helen Helme, city councillor for Ellel (which covers Galgate), said she hoped the proposals would mean an additional Junction 33, rather than a replacement for the current one near Galgate but said anything that reduced traffic around Galgate would be “amazing”.

She added: “The preferred proposal would be a second junction 33 and that is what we would support.

“Residents are all for more housing if its affordable and appropriate, and we support the growth of the university, but I wouldn’t support any of this until they put the appropriate highways in place.

“The option of creating another junction at the university is a good one, as most of the traffic that comes through Galgate is for the university.”

Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw broached the subject with Greg Clark, the new minister for Universities and Science, in Parliament.

Mr Ollerenshaw said creation of the £17m Health and Innovations Campus at the university came “part and parcel” with plans for a new junction which would inprove the district’s transport infrastructure and relieve pressure on the A6 corridor.

He said: “This is an interesting proposal which has been talked about for some time. The difference now is that the LEPis proposing it and although it didn’t make the grade this time for Growth Funds, quite clearly the Minister is prepared to look at this again for next year’s bids.

“Given the money to go ahead with an extension to the university in terms of an Innovations/Business Park then it begins to make sense together with the obvious removal of the bottleneck in Galgate village.

“Clearly we need to see the exact plans on a map before it gets the full scale thumbs up but it does seem a scheme worth looking at and something that could both boost the university and bring some welcome relief to the Galgate community.”

The new Campus, which will be the size of 15 football pitches and help deliver solutions to problems caused by ageing populations, will be funded by part of the government’s £233m Growth Deal for Lancashire.

Hundreds of homes are also planned on land along the A6.