Supermarket plans given go-ahead despite traffic concerns

Lidl, Huntingdon.

Lidl, Huntingdon. - Credit: Archant

Supermarket firm Lidl has been given the go-ahead for alterations to the exit from its store in Huntingdon – despite fears that the scheme will not help ease congestion at the junction on to Stukeley Road as planned.

Concerns have been raised about the siting of the store, near the busy iron bridge junction, and the impact that it could have on traffic.

At the moment, the store has single lanes going in and out of the car park.

Now the store has been given the go-ahead to create a two-lane exit on Stukeley Road so that traffic trying to turn left no longer gets stuck behind vehicles turning right and there would be a "keep clear" box opposite to aid right turns.

The scheme was recommended for approval by planners at Huntingdonshire District Council and was given permission on December 16.

The Hunts Post has previously reported the long-running problems which involve vehicles attempting to turn right to leave towards the town centre which can end up jamming the exit because their way out is blocked by streams of traffic coming south along Stukeley Road. Traffic trying to leave to the left is then unable to get past, causing major queues in the Lidl car park.

Huntingdon Town Council has objected to the plan, saying it would not reduce congestion in the area and the suggested right-hand turns would have an adverse effect on road safety, as would creating a second exit lane which added to the risk to pedestrians.

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They recommended that the exit should allow for left-hand turns only.

The district council has received 40 representations from 33 people over three rounds of consultation. Most also said there should be a left turn only and many supported the town's view that the change would make the situation worse.

A planners' report to the development management committee said: "Cambridgeshire County Council Highways also note that this application does not indicate the removal or banning of right-turning traffic which was accepted during the original application.

"This is an issue that has been raised through the majority of representations received."

The report said: "A restriction to a left hand turn only from this car park is not proposed and is not under consideration as part of this application. A left hand only exit from the site cannot now be imposed as the original planning permissions (both the inspector's appeal decision in 2013 and the later planning permission in 2014) were acceptable without any such restriction."