Why controversial changes to Whittington Moor roundabout are set to be scrapped

Whittington Moor roundabout.
Whittington Moor roundabout.

A council chief has suggested that flyovers could be introduced at the Whittington Moor, Tesco and Horns Bridge roundabouts in Chesterfield.

Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, made the comment after it emerged the authority was set to axe controversial plans for the Whittington Moor junction.

Proposals for potential changes to the Whittington Moor roundabout were launched in August. They included traffic lights being installed on all six junctions of the roundabout and the entrance to the roundabout from Dunston Road closed to all traffic apart from buses.

READ MORE: Business chief’s rat-run fears over Whittington Moor roundabout

Public exhibitions attracted around 1,700 responses from residents, businesses and commuters. While 67 per cent of respondents agreed improvements were necessary to ease congestion and address issues with the speed of circulating traffic and lane discipline, 69 per cent strongly disagreed with plans to shut off Dunston Road.

Coun Spencer said: “We’ve listened to these concerns and are not going to go ahead. We are looking at some improvements to kerbs, lane markings and signs to the roundabout, but longer-term we know that we need to consider a much more radical option to improve journey times along the A61.

“The A61 was not built to cope with the amount of traffic it has now – and this is only going to grow in the future. The only solution to really make significant improvements in journey times is to consider flyovers at the Whittington Moor roundabout, Tesco roundabout and Horns Bridge roundabout.

“The county council wouldn’t be able to fund these, but there is a new national pot of money, the Major Road Network fund, and it might be possible to bid for the money for these flyovers from this fund.”

The Dunston and Moor branch of the Labour party campaigned against the plan to close the entrance to the roundabout from Dunston Road to all traffic apart from buses. The branch said this would have led to traffic being diverted on to already busy residential streets including Racecourse Road, Peveril Road and Stand Road.

Referring to the news that the proposals are set to be axed, Paul Knaggs, a spokesperson for the branch, said: “I am pleased that the county council seems to have seen sense.”

Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “We agreed that something needs to be done to make the roundabout safer but closing the Dunston Road egress and sending hundreds of cars through residential roads every evening was never going to be an acceptable solution.

“It’s good to see that common sense has prevailed.”

The council’s cabinet is expected to drop the plans for Whittington Moor roundabout when it meets on Thursday.