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Last Updated: 30 January 2004
Article originally written by: Satori
Additions by
: John Freeman



Freeman's Wood, LancasterThis is Freemans Wood, a mysterious bit of woodland South-West of Lancaster between the Marsh estate and the Lune estuary. Here children make dens and fish tiddlers from the streams.

From here, walking south along the estuary, you pass the swan colony, where over a hundred wild swans come every year to breed in safety and tranquility. You come to Aldcliffe, a settlement of a few houses, about 300 yards uphill from the river... further on there is Stoddy, another tiny settlement, or you can stay on the riverside and carry on to Glasson along the old railway bed. This is a lovely walk, combining sea, river and countryside. A plentiful supply of driftwood makes the area ideal for family campouts, and outdoor picnics in the summer!

But if Geraldine Smith, MP for Morecambe gets her way you can say goodbye to all that, because that's where she is fighting to build a road to connect Heysham and Morecambe to the M6.

The strange thing is, the shortest connection from there to the M6 would naturally pass North of Lancaster (and there are equally disastrous proposals for a northern bypass, too - read the arguments against those plans here). A bit of widening to Parliament Street would give access to and from St George's Quay too. Ideal, you might think.

So why do they want to build a road that would send traffic winding an extra five miles and ruin this lovely area that gives Lancaster so much of its character?

Don't think the land-grabbers will stop with one road once they get it. BBC News reported way back in 2000 that civil engineers were advocating a new generation of 14 lane giant motorways as a solution to Britain's chronic traffic congestion problem.

Now the idea has raised its head again, this time at the suggestion of a report by Prime Minister Tony Blair's special transport adviser, Lord Birt. The Guardian reported on 20 May 2002 that environmentalists and motoring groups joined forces to pour scorn on proposals by Lord Birt to build a network of toll "supermotorways".

Carpetbagging councillors have always found Heysham and Morecambe ready takers for any cowboy scam purporting to bring the area out of its economic doldrums. Over the years millions have been squandered on no-future schemes like the 'Mr Blobby' theme park and the 'Bubbles' indoor pool. The only people to make money are the construction companies. Meanwhile local schools struggle valiantly with decaying buildings and outdated equipment. The nearest accident and emergency treatment centre is in Lancaster - and the proposed route would do nothing to shorten the travelling time - just soak up the money that could otherwise buy the area a decent M6 link, with change over for the investment in people and resources that is what the area desperately needs to confront the future.

And with that huge fortune in public money sucked up by the sharks, we won't have a hope of getting the funding we need to improve local public transport and repairs to the existing roads - which have more potholes than Malham.

Developers have been trying to get their claws into this designated greenbelt land South of Lancaster to build housing estates for years. If you work in Preston or Blackburn, or even Manchester, it would be an easy commute from a cute mock-middle-class breezeblock Luneside estate - with an M6 link road built (courtesy of Geraldine Smith) with the taxpayers money and the land gone by compulsory purchase.

Local estate agents are already touting the proposed road as a 'business advantage'. Fisher Wrathall are already promoting their 2002 Mellishaw North development, an extension to White Lund Trading Estate, as an area that will 'obviously benefit greatly from the proposed M6 link in either its Westerly or Northern formats'. It's easier for them to build on new land rather than redevelop the old.

aldcliffe stileIf you work in Preston, you don't shop in Lancaster - unless perhaps there was a Retail Park at Stodday - a Tescos and a Matalan? And a DIY and garden centre superstore for all those new house owners?

Just think of all that money - about £60 million for the road, (lets say 100 by the time they've realised it crosses a floodplain and gets into the inevitable delays etc) then millions more for the houses, the retail park... It's plain to see, there will always be a powerful lobby pushing for this road, and with their cronies in the local media they'll always find politicians on the council and in parliament to help them.

And what will this do for Lancaster? The truth is, only harm. We'll lose our garden, our kids will lose their adventure playground, we'll become part of a huge urban conglomeration, centred in Preston, our city centre shops will lose trade to retail parks. Studies show that a road linking Heysham Port to the motorway by this route won't ease traffic through Lancaster at all - and for getting between Lancaster and Morecambe it will be useless.

As global warming revs up, it creates more freak weather and flooding with every passing year. Slowly, (but not slowly enough) world oil stocks deplete, the US provides arms and promotes conflict in the Middle East as the first step in the coming oil war and the rest of the world desperately seeks ways to reduce our dependence on oil-based energy, transport and haulage. Except Morecambe and Heysham. Why am I not surprised?

If you and I do not continue to campaign against both bypass schemes, we can say goodbye to rural Lancaster... say 'goodbye' to the woods, the peaceful farmland and the estuary, and 'hello' to being one of those people who says "I remember when it was all fields around here."

We'll add more stuff to this page, as information becomes available.

Dont Forget! You can have your say about this or any other local issues on our Public Forum Read what others have got to say - and join the debate, or start one of your own!



ADDITIONAL LINKS ON THIS SITE

political update - where the County and City councils are up to at the moment.

Hilton Dawson's statement on why he now believes the Western Bypass should not be built and local party responses

EXTERNAL LINKS

Bypass Consultation Have your say.

Stop The Lancaster Bypass Campaign Website

http://www.roadkillbill.com/r19.html bypass link


TOP

The Proposed Heysham-M6 Link (The Northern Bypass) Read about it.



ashton field

County Council Report August 2004

Latest News (updated 30 January 2004)

Why we don't need a Bypass

LCC Consultation

Hilton Dawson + The Bypass Committee

Have your say in our local Online Message Boards - join the debate or start one yourself!

MORE INFO/LINKS

• MPs Hilton Dawson + Geraldine Smith Pro Bypass website
Funded and registered by Heysham Power Station (i.e.you)

Lancaster & District Green Party

• Real Planning for Lancaster 
A group drawing up alternative, community based plans for the "Canal Corridor" site near the city centre.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Friends of the Earth press release about the Labour Party and greenfield developments

The Guardian
Transport Report

Covering roads, buses, trains and air travel issues in detail

NATIONAL GROUPS

Transport 2000
Campaign against the petrol lobby

Stop Esso
Campaign against the the financial backers of the international road/car lobby.

Environmental Transport Association
National vehicle breakdown/ recovery/ roadside repair service with green objectives.

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