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Penzance roadworks 'will finish destruction of our town'

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 13, 2013

  • How the new Sainsbury's store, including the planned roundabout, could look.

  • A roundabout and improvement works along the A30 at Eastern Green will take around eight months to complete. PZPM20130212G-001_C.JPG

  • Traffic cones currently at Long Rock. The A30 at Eastern Green could also be limited to single lane traffic as the roundabout and wider works are carried out. PZPM20130212H-001_C.JPG

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CONSTRUCTION of a roundabout to service a new supermarket could lead to eight months of roadworks at the gateway to Penzance.

The new road layout is among plans by supermarket giant Sainsbury's for its store on the old heliport site, and will be built between two already in place along this stretch of the A30.

The roundabout, which is being funded by the supermarket, is being combined with Cornwall Council's "wider aspirations" for the trunk road, which include a reduction in the speed limit from 50mph to 40mph and improved footways and cycle routes in the area.

However, there are fears that disruption, delays and congestion from the works will have a damaging impact on the town.

"If you make it difficult for people to get into Penzance and couple that with high car parking prices and out-of-town shopping, there isn't much else that can be done to destroy the town," said Peter Wood, manager of the Wharfside Shopping Centre.

"Talk about ticking boxes."

It is estimated the highways works will take 32 weeks to complete and they are set to begin in April, subject to legal agreements.

Mr Wood said the timing couldn't be worse and he was worried it would hit the tourism industry and harm the local economy.

"If you block the road for whatever reason you're slowing down traffic and you're sending a message to holidaymakers that we'd love them to come to Penzance but it'll be aggravating getting here," he said. "This will have a major impact, and not just for Penzance but for people travelling on further towards Land's End."

The Sainsbury's development at Eastern Green was given planning approval by Cornwall Council in October.

British International Helicopters sold the land to the supermarket after it shut down its air service to the Isles of Scilly last year.

Along with speed restrictions and better pedestrian and cycle links, the A30 development also includes a new bus stop along Jelbert Way.

Around £53,000 of the Section 106 money Sainsbury's agreed to pay to the town for infrastructure improvements as a condition of planning consent will be used to fund these works.

The roundabout bill is part of the supermarket development and is also designed to cater for traffic from a future park-and-ride service operating from the site.

Cornwall Council will carry out the works on behalf of Sainsbury's, using its in-house contractor Cormac Solutions Ltd (CSL).

The authority said while the roadworks might cause some short-term delays to traffic, the council's own streetworks team would work with CSL to keep disruption to a minimum.

Ideas to limit the impact on motorists included phasing the works so they took place outside peak times, reducing each side of the carriageway to one lane and carrying out work overnight.

There would also be discussions over possibly staggering the development so it stopped during the bumper six-week summer holiday period.

"The team will approve the phases and layout of traffic management and place restrictions on CSL's access to the road network where appropriate," said a spokeswoman at County Hall.

"CSL's performance will be closely monitored and appropriate action taken in the event that temporary traffic arrangements need to be amended."

Sainsbury's declined to offer anyone for interview by The Cornishman and instead issued a statement saying the introduction of a roundabout on the A30 had been fully considered in a detailed transport assessment.

"Highways, and access to the store specifically, was subject to extensive consultation throughout the planning application process and discussed at length with the Highways Agency and Cornwall Council to ensure we came up with the best possible solution," the statement said.

"Our consultation also showed that many people felt that the introduction of a roundabout at this point would in fact slow traffic down along the A30, making it safer.

"It would also be consistent with Cornwall Council's aspirations to improve the gateway to Penzance."

The new Sainsbury's store is expected to open for business before Christmas.

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4 comments

  • dec2012  |  February 15 2013, 10:45PM

    Whilst Cornwall Council say they wish to reduce the speed limit at the entrance to Penzance that is surely negated when their employee in the Cornwall Council Van screams through the Tesco roundabout setting off the speed warning sign a little further on toward Penzance which he chose to ignore. This is not the first time I have witnessed them flouting the law as if they know that they will not be prosecuted. They drive as if they are immune from the law and can do as they please. Let Cornwall Council put their own house in order and the police enforce the existing speed limits and the roundabout and all its associated problems need not happen.

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  • jimjams2011  |  February 14 2013, 10:55PM

    Are they mad? The traffic there is already SLOW!!! Its terrible commuting into penzance. We don't need another supermarket there and Sainsbury's are lucky. We don't need to cater to their every whim. if they want to build there they should deal with the entrance that is already there.

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  • Trewellard  |  February 14 2013, 6:41PM

    As someone who commutes daily to work along this road this is dreadful news. What is wrong with the existing road behind the heliport which already serves businesses such as Kwik Fit and B&Q also serving Sainsbury's? In addition the entrance to the heliport site is already in place on this road. Simples?!

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  • Trewellard  |  February 14 2013, 6:41PM

    As someone who commutes daily to work along this road this is dreadful news. What is wrong with the existing road behind the heliport which already serves businesses such as Kwik Fit and B&Q also serving Sainsbury's? In addition the entrance to the heliport site is already in place on this road. Simples?!

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