Retailer unveils plan to tackle traffic problem at town superstore

The Lidl store in Huntingdon. Picture: ARCHANT

The Lidl store in Huntingdon. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Supermarket firm Lidl has launched plans to solve long-running problems with the exit at its store in Huntingdon.

There have been concerns over congestion and safety at the exit since before the Stukeley Road shop was built.

Traffic can be gridlocked at the store at peak times when traffic flows across the entrance prevent vehicles from getting out - and the situation is made worse when the traffic lights at the Iron Bridge turn red.

Vehicles trying to turn right can bring the whole car park to a halt if they are unable to get across Stukeley Road, with some drivers trying to force their way into the traffic and causing problems on the main road as well.

Now the German-based discounter wants to create double exit with separate lanes for traffic exiting the car park to the left and right, with a seven metre box junction on Stukeley Road.

At present there is a single lane exit with traffic able to leave in either direction, although there is a sign advising drivers to turn left and use the nearby mini-roundabout on Stukeley Road.

The firm has submitted plans for the scheme to Huntingdonshire District Council, which said: "It was also observed that due to driver frustration, drivers were willing to drive dangerously to exit the site by mounting the footway in order to turn left."

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Huntingdon Town Council has already considered the plan and has recommended refusal for it.

Members felt the changes would not reduce congestion and felt right turns out of the store had an adverse effect on safety in the area.

They said in a response to the district council: "Members also felt that adding another lane would make the crossing unsafe for pedestrians.

"Members also noted that there was insufficient space for the proposed box junction. Lastly, members felt that the traffic and incident information was incomplete."

The town council added: "Members recommended that the junction should allow left turns only."

Lidl's application said the present junction was design to allow traffic travelling from the north to enter the car park without having to queue at the traffic lights and to allow better access for delivery lorries.

It said that accident figures showed two minor incidents in the vicinity of the entrance before the store opened and one after.

Lidl said that congestion at the entrance showed a maximum wait for right turners during the weekday peak was 80 seconds and 120 seconds on the Saturday peak.

"The solution will improve the free-flow of traffic and will enhance highway safety," the firm said.

There was concern that Stukeley Road would not be able to cope with traffic flows before the store opened in 2015.