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New MSA could bring Handy Cross-style traffic chaos in Beaconsfield
THE new Motorway Service Area in Beaconsfield could bring Handy Cross-style traffic chaos to the roads when it opens in September 2008.
Plans for the area (MSA), featuring a new, larger roundabout were seen for the first time at a Beaconsfield Town Council meeting on Thursday.
Both councillors and residents laughed sarcastically at the plans to turn the existing roundabout at Junction Two of the M40 into one rather like Handy Cross'.
Chris Furness, chief executive of South Bucks District Council, delivered the news and added: "I know you won't like it."
Work at the MSA site, just off the A355 near Burtley Wood, was not due to start until April next year, but Mr Furness revealed that trees will start to be chopped down in the next few weeks. This will be closely followed with the start of on-site construction in August 2007.
A dedicated third lane will be built to deal with traffic coming westbound from London into the MSA. Work on road alterations and off-site construction is expected to start in November 2007, and continue for ten months.
The plans, drawn up by contractors Swayfield Ltd, also highlighted the difficulty motorists would have getting to the football club off the A355, as it will only allow them to get in and out by turning left.
Councillor Alan Walters said: "We have a football club and I see that the access to that from Beaconsfield is now closed off, how do people from Beaconsfield who support that club get into the premises? I think that's something that should be taken back to Swayfield and highways."
Another concern was the ancient woodland that the site will be built on.
Mr Furness explained that some of it would be moved.
He added: "What's intended is that most of the ancient woodland that can be saved, which will be some of the smaller trees and shrubs and sections of top soil, are going to be moved so that it can be translocated."
Mr Furness stressed that the council had been able to negotiate with Swayfield who had agreed to keep some mature trees as screening. He was still disappointed that despite public opposition, the MSA was still going ahead.
He added: "It was foisted on us. We have to take the view that as we are going to get it, we may as well work with the developers to get the best we can for the district and the areas around it, particularly Beaconsfield."
The five-acre MSA site will house a 60-room budget hotel, shopping area, petrol station and a 600-space car park.