A number of substantial housing developments are currently being built or proposed in various parts of Lancaster which are cause of concern. That concern centres largely on traffic issues.
A recent meeting on the Freehold, for example, attracted around 150 residents, who voiced strongly their worries about the present traffic problems and how they would be greatly worsened unless strong measures were put in place to alleviate them.
Just east of the Freehold six housing estates, totalling around 1,000 households, have either been recently completed, in the process of being built or at the planning proposal stage.
Basically traffic access to these developments is not along major roads but along Victorian residential streets which, with their narrow roadways and pavements, were never designed for the extra volumes of vehicular traffic and pedestrians that these new housing developments generate.
In Derwent Road on the Freehold for example, the road-way width is only five metres with slightly over a metre wide pavements in many places. Several hundred children and adults use those pavements, especially around the four neighbouring schools’ opening and closing times. Several hundred cars, buses and commercial vehicles drive up and down at the same times. The hazards to all concerned are obvious, especially to those who live on this street.
The major national chains of house-builders involved have posted high profits over the past year or two and can well afford to contribute substantial sums towards measures such as off-road cycle-ways, new pathways, pavement widening, zebra crossings, mini roundabouts, flashing-light speed warning signs – designed to make life for residents and pedestrians less stressful and safer.
I call upon councillors, planners and indeed anyone who can influence this situation to do whatever is in their power to ensure that the new and largely welcome housing developments in Lancaster do not turn our old residential streets into noisy, dirty and dangerous thoroughfares.