Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council has given a cautious welcome to the West Midlands Combined Authority plans to develop an integrated Sprint Bus Rapid Transit transport network which include a link between Sutton Coldfield and the city centre via the proposed new development at Langley.
Councillors debated their response at last night’s full Council meeting. The aim is for Sprint to offer an attractive, viable alternative for road users in order to help significantly reduce the number of cars using the congested highway network and help improve air quality across the region. The meeting welcomed the priority given to planned investment to link Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham City Centre.
Leader of the Town Council Councillor Simon Ward commented: “The Town Council welcomes and strongly supports the need for major investment in improving connectivity between Sutton Coldfield and the City Centre. Such investment is critical to ensure the new developments at Langley and Peddimore are properly integrated, become part of the town and avoid total gridlock
“However the Town Council has many concerns about some more densely built up areas along the route where Sprint can only be accommodated by imposing restrictions which affect the capacity for other traffic. This could greatly add to congestion and not actually deliver the promised faster, more reliable journey times. We also have serious safety concerns in certain areas. These issues need looking at again or require further more detailed technical work.
“We also think the West Midlands Combined Authority should take into account the transport modelling work that the Town Council has jointly funded with Birmingham City Council in the scheme design. The Town Council stands ready to contribute in a meaningful way to make this scheme work.
“As a general principle wherever practicable we believe Sprint should be accommodated through enhancements of the existing highway network capacity, for example through road widening / junction improvements rather than increased restrictions on general traffic.
“As they stand these plans have significant weaknesses. We live and work on the Sprint route and know first hand that residents’ concerns need addressing as a matter of urgency.
“The Town Council must be actively involved and engaged in discussions as the detailed scheme design evolves in seeking to address these concerns.”
Public consultation on the proposals commenced on 20th August. A briefing session for town councillors was held in advance on 15th August and a public consultation event was also held in the town centre on 1st September. Feedback from the consultation will be analysed in October before being taken into account in the detailed scheme design. It is envisaged that the main construction phase will take place from spring 2020 to late 2021 ready for opening in advance of the Commonwealth Games.
The full response to the consultation is available on the Town Council website – click the link here