£80m flyover would be ‘carbuncle at gateway to Lake District’
Council leader hits out at suggestion for Penrith area from Highways England
A proposed flyover to link two major roads on the southern fringe of Penrith would be a “carbuncle” at the gateway to the Lake District, says a senior councillor.
That criticism of the Highways England plan came from Eden Council leader Kevin Beaty.
The £80m flyover could be part of the plan to dual of the A66 between Scotch Corner and Penrith, and would link the newly improved road with the A6.
Mr Beaty is to put forward a motion at a full meeting of Eden Council next Thursday urging fellow councillors to strongly oppose the flyover.
“It would be an unsightly carbuncle,” said Mr Beaty.
“We fully support plans for dualling the A66, which is long overdue, but how this improved road meets the A6 is a critical part of how our district develops in the future.”
The visual impact of the suggested flyover would be “brutal,” he said. “Any flyover would undoubtedly ruin the views people enjoy of Eden District from within the national park and from Penrith’s historic beacon.
“We have grave concerns over the way in which traffic would move west along a new A66 to Junction 40 M6 and the integration of traffic on any proposed flyover could result in either danger to life or exacerbate existing major traffic hold-ups.”
The resulting congestions could also be harmful to local air quality, he argued.
Mr Beaty, who fears major road works in the Kemplay Bank and Eamont Bridge area would impact on Penrith fire station and the county’s police HQ, added: “At a presentation, a Highways England consultant told us they had identified a robust figure of £80m to build this flyover.
“And if people are happy to see a giant concrete flyover at the entrance to Penrith, then fine, but the impact will be huge, and people should know about it.”
Eden Council is backing alternative routes to join the improved A66 to the A6, which would run either to the North and East of Penrith or to the South of Penrith.
The authority believes these routes would increase the future economic potential of Penrith and points out that they are supported by local land owners and town councillors.
Mr Beaty added: “These are exciting times for the future development of the UK, with the Northern Powerhouse and Borderlands initiatives.
“The dualling of the A66 is a key part of this work. We have a shared responsibility to get the connections of the adjoining roads to an improved A66 right, so they are not only safer for road users, but the significant infrastructure investment also benefits local residents and the wider economy for future.
“Any proposed junction with a flyover would be totally detrimental to Eden’s future and I hope Highways England reconsider their proposals and that members support my motion next Thursday.”
A spokesman for Highways England said: “We are in the very early stages of looking at ways of completing the dualling of the A66 between the M6 in Cumbria and the A1 in County Durham to improve journeys across the Pennines.
“This will mean a vital investment in the transport infrastructure of the north. Improving arrangements at Kemplay roundabout, where the A6 meets the A66, is certainly being considered.
“We can reassure local people, including communities and road users, nothing is confirmed; we are committed to publicising and consulting on options and any firm proposals would also be subject to a statutory public consultation and planning process.”