Councillors refuse to reverse golf course traffic safety measures
The facility was told back in January that it could tee-up a major revamp which will see its greens and fairways raised in order to create a more challenging playing experience. As part of the plans, which also see nine disused holes on the course brought back into play, more than 26,000 cubic metres of soil will be imported onto the Preston Road site – requiring an estimated 10 heavy goods vehicle movements per day. In granting permission for the changes, Lancashire County Council’s development control committee imposed a condition, requiring the operators of the venue to fund a traffic island adjacent to the golf course entrance on the A49 and to widen that entrance to allow two HGVs to pass each other safely.
The entrance to Charnock Richard Golf Course (image: Google Streetview) Copyright: other
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But the facility – part of a wider site known as The Laurels – has now pledged to restrict HGV movements to one in and one out every hour and erect warning signs on the 60mph road advising motorists of turning traffic. Highways bosses at County Hall are satisfied that the alternative arrangements mean that the island and entrance-widening work is no longer required. However, committee members were unconvinced and rejected the revised application by a majority.
County Cllr Stephen Clarke said: “I cannot understand why highways [officials] have changed their mind about a condition which was clearly for the safety of other road users. Obviously, the safety issues must still be there, so why the sudden change of plans?” Fellow committee member Eddie Pope warned that HGVs could end up “queuing further down the road, [close to] a mini-roundabout that takes you over the motorway and is already a very dangerous area”.
Highways officials concluded that there is enough room for an HGV turning right into the site to wait at an existing ‘ghost island’ if it were to encounter a fellow truck making its way out. However, it was noted that the exiting vehicle would encroach slightly into this right-turn lane as it made the left-hand move to head south along the A49. It was also found that the staggered movement of vehicles meant that their presence would not have a “significant impact” on highway safety.
Previously, the traffic island had been proposed to discourage overtaking in the area.
Committee member David Foxcroft said that he did not “pretend to be a highways expert” and so backed the authority’s roads bosses – but most of his colleagues disagreed and decided that the proposed measures “would not be sufficient to eliminate the risk of conflict between vehicles”.
Charnock Richard Golf Course declined to comment on the decision.