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Angry residents protest over possible new M40 junction
ANGRY protestors gathered by playing fields in Wycombe yesterday amid fears the very spot could be bulldozed to make way for a motorway access road.
Over 30 worried Kingsmead residents turned out for a show of defiance at the potential for a new M40 motorway junction near Flackwell Heath.
Under the early plans, drafted by council contractor Jacobs, a new junction '3A' near Spring Lane would also require an access road linking to the A40 London Road, joining at the junction for Gomm Road.
And led by Wycombe District Councillor Trevor Snaith, residents came out in force to protest at the idea, which could see houses demolished on Kingsmead Road.
Cllr Snaith said: “The access road will go straight through some bungalows and all the netball courts will disappear.
“The problem is it will cause more congestion in this part of town, it’s snarled up enough at rush hour as it is.
“It (the road) was kept rather quiet, but one of the residents here drilled down into it the details a bit further.
“The situation as it stands is (county council chief Martin) Tett thinks it’s a good idea. This is the man who says not to HS2 but is happy to dump this on Wycombe like usual.
“There’s no investment down at junction 3 in Loudwater, that’s a bit of a desert so they should spend money down there rather than pushing this through here.
“They do not think about how many lives that will destroy down here.”
Cllr Snaith addressed the crowd, telling them in the same way they won the fight against the closure of the Holywell Mead lido, they would do the same again with junction 3A.
And residents signed the 'No Way Junction 3A' petition that has now been started.
The protest was sparked after comments from Bucks Council Council leader Martin Tett, who publicly backed the junction idea put forward in a new report into growth in the county.
And WDC’s Local Plan consultation, which collected feedback about where to build new homes and infrastructure, floated the junction as a possible way to attract housing and jobs.
But residents along the path of the possible access road are up in arms about the possibility of having to move out of their homes.
One elderly resident, who didn’t want to be named, said she was shocked to find out her home was on the list to be demolished if the scheme goes ahead.
She said: “I’m so upset this road might come down here. I only heard about it when I read it in the Bucks Free Press.
“I scoured round but it was difficult to find the report by Jacobs, but on page 8 I found a picture of the back of my bungalow.
“I was so shocked to see read it said next to it ‘Compulsory Purchase Order’, so I wrote to the head of planning but I haven’t had a reply yet.”
An access road would cross Kingsmead Road and the west side of Kingsmead park, taking out the car park and the Kingsmead Netball Centre in the process.
As reported in the BFP, Flackwell Heath residents are also worried about the extra traffic from any new junction.
And staff at Cobbles Farm, a successful equestrian centre near Spring Lane, are protesting against losing their farm to the new development.
Robert Price, whose bungalow lies in the path of the mooted access road, said the area cannot handle any more traffic.
He said: “It is already turning into a rat run and it will be even worse if we had a motorway access road. The infrastructure isn’t there for another major road.
“I’ve lived here for 36 years, the nippers have grown up here. For me, it’s the way it’s been handled, no one knows enough about it.
“People round here are complaining they’ve not heard about it, a lot of people didn’t get the leaflets the council sent for the Local Plan.”
Wycombe District Council insists nothing has been decided with the junction as the Local Plan is still at a very early stage.
Spokesman Sue Robinson said: “We are still working through the responses we have received from the consultation - over 300 written responses were specifically about Junction 3a.
“We are still at a very early stage which involves looking at a range of options which may or may not be progressed further.
“Any options around the motorway would involve much more detailed work. No decisions have been made and it is not a decision which we as a local council can make on our own.”
Residents in the area have reportedly been leafleted about attending a ‘Stakeholder meeting’ next week regarding the proposed junction.
However, WDC have made clear the meeting will not discuss specific issues and is simply a market research presentation on more general issues surrounding the plan.
Ms Robinson added: “Next week there will be a stakeholder meeting is to give general feedback on the Local Plan consultation, including a presentation from Qa who did an independent market research study on the Local Plan options for us.
“We will not be discussing specific issues such as Green Belt Review and Junction 3a. Discussions on these issues will form part of the next phase of work on the Local Plan.”
For a project of this size to get the green light, it would need to find approval within WDC, Bucks County Council and central Government and receive significant capital funding.
Would you support the proposed new junction? Vote in our online poll (closes Thursday, 9am).