Could Tesco bring traffic chaos to Padiham?

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A MULTI-MILLION pound Tesco superstore set to open in Padiham by Christmas next year could bring traffic chaos to the town.

That is the warning from town councillor Andy Tatchell who fears traffic in Padiham town centre will be gridlocked at rush hour and quiet residential streets be turned into “rat runs.’’

He told the Express: “The ‘for and against’ argument about Tesco coming to Padiham is now academic and that is not what I am concerned about. My concerns are how the town is going to cope with the increase in traffic once the store is built. The store car park has 242 spaces so when the store is busy at peak times with traffic moving in and around Padiham the area could be brought to a standstill.

“Padiham is always choc-a-block with cars at the tea-time rush hour now.’’

A Lancashire County Council highways report on the subject begs more questions than it answers, says Coun. Tatchell, who said he was staggered to discover it was suggested traffic flow on one of the worst streets affected, Wyre Street, should be reviewed after six months.

Coun. Tatchell added: “The traffic lights in Wyre Street let out an average of nine cars in six seconds onto the busy main road before changing and how you alter this to to let out more cars is not obvious without slowing down an already congested main road, particularly at tea-time. If you try to exit via Sowerby Street and the mini roundabout you give way to the right and the gap that lets you out today would have been filled to a large extent by the nine cars which have just come through the Wyre Street lights.’’

Coun. Tatchell said he also feared Cobden, Ingham and Lawrence Streets could become a “rat run’’ for drivers to get to Grove Lane.

The mini roundabout on the bridge leading into Padiham could be restricted to single lane traffic whether turning right towards Tesco or continuing through Padiham, Coun, Tatchell warned.

And even more cars will be coming to Padiham thanks to Burnley Council giving the green light to a planning application to create a base for 15 taxis in Grove Lane to operate on a 24-hour basis.

Coun. Tatchell said: “I was neither for or against Tesco coming to Padiham and, after speaking to people in the town, the feeling is much the same with some in favour and others against. But surely others must share my concerns about the traffic chaos I foresee.’’

The retail giant was given the green light for the £11m. “eco store” in the town centre after a costly public inquiry despite fierce opposition from Padiham business owners and councillors. Demolition men have cleared mill buildings from the site between Wyre Street and Lune Street to make way for the new 30,000 sq ft. store.

Have your say online at www.burnleyexpress.net.