M54 to M6 Link Road

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

M54 to M6 Link Road

Received 18 May 2020
From Bruton Knowles LLP on behalf of Messrs Nigel and Paul Simkin

Representation

We are instructed by Messrs Nigel and Paul Simkin who own land at Shareshill, affected by the M54 to M6 Link Road Project. We feel we should point out that there has been a lack of consultation by Highways England and our clients feel they have not received meaningful responses about their concerns (letters sent by Bruton Knowles - 3rd July 2019 and the 11th December 2019). The lack of proper engagement has made our clients feel as if their concerns are of little importance, with Highways England’s priority being Project delivery. This is a summary of our clients concerns again raised at a meeting with Highways England on the 27th February 2020; 1. Why did ecologists in undertaking their technical work not approach The Simkin’s? The Simkin Family have farmed this land for more than 100 years and therefore the Project could have benefited from their knowledge and in turn this could have mitigated the impact on land take. 2. Despite it being promised, The Simkin’s have not received a Statement of Common Ground (SOCG). The fact that a SOCG has been agreed with other parties such as Natural England disappoints our client. 3. Excessive ecological mitigation exacerbates the Projects effect on our client’s land as follows; - loss of good quality arable land/severed fields/access routes. - impact upon fishing and clay pigeon businesses. - impact upon riding routes used by their equestrian business. - loss of income/increased costs. As an example, during the meeting Nigel Simkin expressed his surprise that increased mitigation is required because of an area of existing ‘ancient woodland’ to the north of his land ownership. Through his own knowledge, this is an area of relatively young trees and furthermore is not designated as ancient woodland on the Natural England website. 4. A combination of excessive ecological mitigation and resultant boundaries for land take has left small sections of land that cannot be farmed effectively. 5. The Simkin Family have several vehicular access routes severed by the Project, not all of which have been acknowledged or replaced by the Project. 6. As mitigation for land access and footpath severance, the Project proposes to provide an accommodation bridge to allow access for farm vehicles and pedestrians. It was highlighted in the meeting by Nigel Simkin that this bridge will also be required for equestrian use as part of a diversion for a bridleway, a point which Highways England would have been aware of had they consulted fully. The proposed specifications for this bridge are important. In our client’s opinion, the proposed carriageway of 4.5 metres with a 1.25 metre verge either side is inadequate and unsafe, given that various uses of the bridge can occur simultaneously. This bridge also needs to be future proofed, as the proposed width is barely sufficient for the existing combine. As agricultural equipment is becoming larger, our client’s view is that the current design of the bridge is inadequate to accommodate both current and future use. In short, the bridge needs to be wider. 8. Our client’s land is being promoted for commercial development by Nurton Developments. We understand that the Promoter feels (as our client’s do) that there has been a singular lack of positive engagement in relation to Nurton’s plans, which is a pity in that constructive dialogue would have been in everyone’s best interests.