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Collaboration Gives Green Light to U-turn on Blackwater Valley Hotspots Scheme

Published on: 22 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 23 Jul, 2020

The roundabout by the Junction of the A31 and the A331 Blackwater Relief Road. One of the “hotspots” planned work is expected to improve. Google Street View

Key road junctions in the Blackwater Valley area will now be improved after agreement by Guildford Borough Council, Surrey County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership EM3.

The Hotspots project was identified in the Local Plan to reduce traffic congestion in the west of the borough. The scheme will improve:

  • A331 Blackwater Valley Road/A31 roundabout junction; and
  • A323 Guildford Road/A324 Pirbright Road traffic signal junction.

The project had reached design stage before the pandemic’s financial impact forced the borough council to re-evaluate expenditure and set aside a £15 million emergency fund to maintain essential services.

Cllr John Rigg

Borough Cllr John Rigg (R4GV, Holy Trinity), lead for Regeneration, said: “The project isn’t part of the borough council’s statutory duty but we initiated it to benefit our residents in the Blackwater Valley area and those travelling through there.

“Thanks to the hard work of our project team it was at an advanced stage but we would have been unable to continue without greater collaboration with Surrey County Council through the deputy leader, Cllr Colin Kemp.”

County Cllr Colin Kemp

Cllr Kemp (Con, Goldsworth East and Horsell Village), said: “These two junctions are important for the Blackwater area to support the delivery of housing but also as an important part of our road network. These improvements will also support greener travel such as walking and cycling, and help reduce congestion and improve air quality.

“The county council was happy to work in partnership with Guildford council to jointly fund and take over the delivery. There is still a lot of work to get this done by next year.”

Enterprise M3 LEP are providing 50% of the total costs of the scheme. Kathy Slack, their CEO, said: ‘I am really pleased to see the Blackwater Valley Hotspots project taking a big step forward. No one wants to see a return to the levels of congestion we saw in the area before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This scheme will go a long way toward reducing congestion and air pollution in the Blackwater Valley.”

Cllr Paul Spooner

GBC’s Paul Spooner (Con “Ind”, Ash South & Tongham), said: “I am very pleased there has been a U-turn.

“I am grateful to Residents Associations and local campaigners in achieving a successful outcome for the Ash and Tongham community.

“I also appreciate the intervention of Cllr John Rigg in ensuring this essential highways scheme is progressed.”

Sue Wyeth-Price, of Ash Green Residents Association Committee, said: “This is excellent news for the residents of Ash, Tongham and Ash Green. We are very pleased our voices have been heard and thank the whole team involved in getting this through.

“We are especially pleased this has shown what can be achieved with residents, officers and councillors from all parties, working together for the benefit of the residents. We look forward to the completion of the works within the timeframe and hope the A331/A323 project will receive similar attention.”

See also: Questions Follow Relief After Council Decision to Review Road Hotspot Project for Ash

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Responses to Collaboration Gives Green Light to U-turn on Blackwater Valley Hotspots Scheme

  1. Gill Squib Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Good news for all residents being given the green light for the Blackwater Valley Hotspots Scheme. It’s been uplifting to see local community groups and residents working together.

    We hope the works gets done in advance of the next wave of new housing to support infrastructure in this area. It’s really vital to get this project completed in order for our roads to flow with traffic and not get completely gridlocked.

    Gill Squibb is the chair of Ash Green Residents Association

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