Plans for new exit at Ventura Park could end traffic chaos
PLANS to create a second exit on a congestion-hit Tamworth supermarket car park have now been submitted – and could be completed in time for Christmas if they get the go-ahead.
Sainsbury's, which has suffered traffic chaos during busy weekends and holidays, has submitted an application detailing the exit to Tamworth Borough Council.
And the plans have been welcomed by councillors as "great news".
The Herald has reported the continuing problems at the Jolly Sailor car park. Back in January angry motorists said they had been left trapped in their cars – with some abandoning their vehicles – in traffic congestion on the site. Further chaos descended over the Easter weekend.
The proposed plans show the exit will be placed in the far corner of the car park, situated between Argos and the recycling facility, leading traffic onto Bonehill Road.
Eight car parking spaces will be removed to make way for the road, but the changed layout will mean six spaces are also created.
County councillor Jeremy Oates said: "I welcome the planning application. There are a number of stages still to go through and we will have to consider the application in detail.
"The headline that we are looking at a second exit is great news.
"This is not going to solve all traffic issues on Ventura Park, so this is no silver bullet."
The plans come after the store carried out an assessment of traffic in the area and had discussions with the Highways Agency.
Leader of Tamworth Borough Council Cllr Danny Cook said: "We hope local people will support Conservative councillors' efforts to tackle the traffic issues at Ventura and write to the planning department to support the application. We have been working hard to address this issue."
And Cllr Ben Adams added: "Ventura Retail Park is a massive shopping destination for people outside Tamworth.
"It attracts people from all over the area to spend money in Tamworth; it is the jewel in the crown for Staffordshire."
Planning applications take around eight weeks to determine. If it is approved, the works would start late summer.
Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher said: "This planning application is a real step forward to resolving a problem that has blighted Ventura for too long.
"I have raised residents concerns on several occasions with the county council and they assure me this is traffic issue at the top of their list.
"I will continue to lobby for a speedy end to this driving log-jam."
And county councillor Mike Maryon added: "Alleviating the traffic flow problems from the car park at Sainsbury's is a top priority for us as we want people to come to Tamworth and have a good shopping experience.
"This is an important issue and I am pleased to see this project progressing. Our highways team is already ahead of the game in ensuring work can begin as soon as possible after planning approval.
"It is already working with Sainsbury's consultants to make sure a detailed scheme is ready to go; rather than wait for outline plans to be approved first.
"This is a really positive story for Tamworth and has come about as a result of the continued close working between the county and borough councils and Sainsbury's.
"Ventura Park is a key county and regional asset and we want it to continue to help build Tamworth's profile as a great place to live and to visit."
Consultation letters are now in the process of being sent out to houses in the immediate area. Residents can also comment on the planning application by writing to: The Planning Department, Tamworth Borough Council, Marmion House, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7BZ, or visit the planning section on www.tamworth.gov.uk, application number 0176/2012.