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In Full . . .

THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on October 31 2016 at 12:27:57

‘With the Bordesley Bypass now little more than a distant dream . . .” Ah, now there was a thing.

Reading those words at the end of our story on impending and actual traffic mayhem between Alvechurch and Redditch, a sentimental wave of optimism began to wash over.

Those of you who aren’t too young to remember, or too recently arrived to have known, will recall the opening of the Alvechurch Bypass from Junction 2 of the M42 down to Cobbs Barn roundabout in 1994.

If you think the traffic through Alvechurch is bad now, all the lorries used to rumble through along with a noisy procession of cars at very regular times between Redditch and MG Rover at Longbridge.

Then the bypass came and alleviated the problem a little, although not by as much as had been hoped. As it only started at Cobbs Barn, it was still quicker for Longbridge-bound traffic to stick to the well-worn route through Alvechurch village centre.

But we feared not: this was only phase one – work would soon begin on phase two, we thought, from Cobbs Barn down to Redditch, probably rejoining the road at a large roundabout at the bottom of Weights Lane. Then the traffic would just stay on the bypass and carry on towards Birmingham up Hopwood Hill.

Sorry, Hopwood! Only it never happened. All the plans and promises were forgotten until, in 2005, we were reporting: “Bypass ready by 2008”.

This time detailed plans had been drawn up by top engineers showing the bypass travelling to the west of Bordesley and rejoining the road at a large roundabout at the bottom of Weights Lane.

The impetus was a scheme to turn the Abbey Stadium into a large complex, possibly including a snowdome, which Redditch planners said would require the bypass to be built.

The proponents of the new complex said they didn’t see why they would need to build a bypass, although they would build a large roundabout at the bottom of Weights Lane where a future bypass could join.

In the end, we never got to see who would win this tussle because the plans for the Abbey Stadium were rejected and the council opted for their own revamp.

Which brings us back to today, with the people of Bordesley now facing a year of traffic queues belching at the ends of their drives, while villagers just won’t bother going Christmas shopping in Redditch.

The planners haven’t seen the need to insist on a bypass for the housing and office development now under construction – but there is going to be a large roundabout at the bottom of Weights Lane taking 54 weeks to build.

There is something familiar about this roundabout . . . while we suffer intermittent traffic chaos and inconvenience, dare we sit in our cars and dream of the re-emergence of the Bordesley Bypass?


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