'Leighton Buzzard's Eastern distributor road needs to be opened as soon as possible'

'Whereas it will not be a total solution to the traffic problems in Leighton Buzzard it should go some way to relieving the traffic pressure near the centre'

Friday, 30th July 2021, 6:30 pm
Updated Friday, 30th July 2021, 6:32 pm

Leighton-Linslade Town Council, Central Bedfordshire councillors in the town, and South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous are pressing Central Beds Council and housing developers to complete and open the Eastern distributor road as soon as possible - "and at the very latest before Easter next year".

Mr Selous told the LBO that congestion remains a "significant problem in the town" and that while enabling more people who are able to walk and cycle safely remains an important priority, it was vital to make sure that "we have the right roads in places to ease congestion in the town centre in particular".

The Eastern distributor road is designed to help people avoid the town centre if they do no wish to drive through, and to help keep traffic flowing.

Stock image courtesy of Andrew Selous MP.

Leader of the Town Council, Steve Jones, said: “I welcome the news that the Eastern Relief Road is to be opened from Heath Road to Hockliffe Road by December this year with the final section from Hockliffe Road to Stanbridge Road due in early 2022. Whereas it will not be a total solution to the traffic problems in Leighton Buzzard it should go some way to relieving the traffic pressure near the centre by giving an alternative route out to the A5.”

Mr Selous said: “I am acutely aware of how deeply frustrating it is to people to be stuck in traffic in the town and I know how difficult this makes life for many of our local businesses. While there is no one answer to this problem, the completion of the Eastern distributor road will definitely help and I want to see it open as soon as possible.”

He added: "It is important that Taylor Wimpey, Barrett Homes and Arnold White complete the section 278 and section 38 legal requirements as quickly as possible to enable the Eastern distributor road to be completed and opened and it is vital that Central Bedfordshire Council continues to work at pace with the developers to make sure this happens."

A spokeswoman for Barratt David Wilson Homes said: “We understand the need for the Eastern Distributor Road to be completed, and are working in conjunction with the consortium to ensure it is delivered ahead of schedule.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “We understand the urgency for the Eastern Link Road to be completed at the earliest opportunity and are working with the relevant parties to finish construction of the road ahead of schedule.”

For background, the spokesman added: "In line with planning obligations and anticipated housing trajectory, we anticipate that the ELR will be completed ahead of schedule, by early 2022

"Taylor Wimpey and Barratt David Wilson have completed three out of the five S278 works with the other two currently under construction and due to be completed this year."

Kate Groves, Managing Director, AW Promotion and Development, said: “Arnold White Group is continuing to work at pace to meet our aspiration to complete the Chamberlains Barn link road (from Heath Road down to Vandyke Road) and the new Vandyke Road junction itself (part of the Eastern distributor road system) before Christmas. We are on track to meet this aspiration, subject to the weather and its potential impact on the construction schedule.

“We are working closely with Central Bedfordshire Council and its street works team to agree the necessary arrangements and road closures to facilitate this work. Furthermore, we are also working alongside Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Homes, the developers of the Clipstone Park scheme on the other side of Vandyke Road, to ensure a joined-up approach to the delivery of the junction works.

“In addition, the junction works will see the diversion of a stretch of the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway. The work will see the track diverted a short distance away from the original route alongside Vandyke Road to allow it to run under a bridge carrying the new link road. During this process we continue to work with Leighton Buzzard Railway to deliver this innovative solution, keep the railway running, and secure the future of this significant local tourist attraction.”

The LBO contacted CBC for a statement but it did not wish to comment on this occasion.