Residents vow to fight plans for six-lane highway

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd

CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight once more against controversial plans for a “super highway”.

Members of the ‘Aston Hill Says No!’ group are up in arms at proposals being revived for the A494 to be widened between Queensferry and Ewloe.

Just four years after original plans to widen part of the A494 were thrown out following a long-running battle, the issue is back on the agenda.

An ambitious multi-million pound scheme to overhaul the region’s transport network scheme could include a section of the A494 being expanded to three lanes in each direction.

Fears have been sounded for the health of children and pensioners who live near the A494 if the plans come to fruition.

Aston Hill Says No! spokesman Judith Hough, a member of Hawarden Community Council, said the campaign group is preparing to rally again. If it comes to it then once more we will fight this all the way,” she said.

“This morning I have been in contact with a lot of concerned people. There is a lot of dissent already about it. We are ready to fight this again.”

Cllr Hough said discussions would be taking place about what steps the group would take.

“We are keeping our finger on the pulse,” she added.

“We can’t allow this to happen. I would have concerns about the noise pollution for people who live nearby.

“Our children are our future and I fear for their health if the A494 is widened.

“I am also very concerned for the health of pensioners who live close to the A494.”

Cllr Hough said she would be far more supportive of proposals for a new two-lane dual carriageway connecting the A55 at Northop and the A548 at Kelsterton, believing that would carry wider benefits for Flintshire.

Paul Davies, of the Ewloe Green Action Group which was also involved in fighting the previous plans, said he too would favour the Northop and Kelsterton link being looked at rather than an A494 expansion.

The original A494 plan, dubbed the “North Wales motorway”, was to widen a 2.5 mile stretch to four lanes uphill and three lanes downhill.

It was axed by then transport minister Ieuan Wyn Jones in March 2008 following a lengthy battle and public inquiry, much to the delight of campaigners.

Revised plans are now back on the table as part of transport chiefs’ plans to overhaul the road and rail network in North East Wales.

Other proposals include extending the A55 from Ewloe to Northop to three lanes in each direction, as well as improving rail links and increasing the number of train stations.

The proposals were included in the North East Wales Area Based Transport Study and the A55/A494 Study, published on Monday.

Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant, who is also Welsh transport minister, said: “Major proposals were put forward in 2006 and were rejected by local people and a public inquiry.

“We’ve now had a major rethink and fully taken into account local feelings and now want to move forward with a genuine consultation on a scheme aimed at improving transport conditions both locally and for the benefit of the whole of North Wales.”

Consultation will now begin with councils and the public with a view to developing the study options in more detail.

See full story in the Leader

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