VILLAGERS in a traffic-plagued street where “you can almost taste the fumes” and hear the rumble of vehicles round the clock have hit out plans to widen the Sheffield Parkway.
Rotherham Council says its proposed widening of the A630 from Rotherham into Sheffield from two lanes to three will increase capacity and cut congestion.
But residents in Brinsworth Road, Catcliffe, where some homes are only 20 metres from traffic passing at up to 70mph, said the plans had been drawn up without consideration for its impact in terms of what they fear will be extra emissions and noise — on top of the levels of up to 90 decibels they already put up with.
More than 200 people have signed a petition calling for sound level monitoring outside homes in Catcliffe and measures such as barriers alongside the dual carriageway and special tarmac to keep noise to a minimum.
Resident Shaun Pashley said a meeting had been held at The Centre in Brinsworth last August to discuss the Parkway plans but no-one in her street had been told about it and only after raising the issue themselves had Catcliffe residents managed to persuade council officers to come and speak toh them.
She said this second meeting had still left unanswered questions and they were awaiting the results of an impact assessment on the widening proposal, which they expected by the end of last month.
Mrs Pashley said: “When the Parkway opened in the 1970s, there was no heavy traffic but now it is constant, day and night.
“The noise level has increased over the last ten years and it’s above the recommended level (45 decibels) at all hours, even during the night. It never stops.
“We cannot stop what’s happening but they (the council) have a duty of care to us as residents and should take us into account.”
Lynne Stewart, also of Brinsworth Road, said: “We have been here for 11 years and the noise level has increased over time.
“When we moved here, I took the attitude that the noise was like waves on the shore but it has become impossible to ignore — it’s louder and constant.
“It would be impossible to have a conversation with your neighbour over the garden fence and it’s not pleasant to spend time in your garden.
“It’s not just the noise either, but the emissions, too.
“We’re in one of the worst positions for pollution as we look onto the Parkway. You can almost taste the emissions in the air.
“This has been done without taking into consideration the effect it will have on the environment, the children in the schools and our health.”
Asked about the council’s insistence that increasing capacity for traffic flow would ease congestion and emissions, Mrs Stewart said: “I think instead of having four lanes of standing traffic at rush hour we are going to have six lanes of standing traffic.”
Residents also believe the Parkway plans and a recently-approved application for a motorway service station where the Parkway meets the M1 were considered in isolation rather than in the context of each other.
Mrs Stewart added: “We have extended an open invitation to everyone, including the council, to come and see how close the traffic is to us and what the noise is like but this has so far not been taken up.”
She said she did not know if the council would be open to calls for barriers and special tarmac but added: “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t try.”
Rotherham Council’s assistant director of planning, regeneration and transport, Simon Moss, said: “A further meeting with residents has been offered if and when approval for the scheme is granted by the Government.
“We are working with Government to finalise the business case for the parkway widening scheme, which hasn't yet been submitted.
“The information, including the noise assessment, is still being collated and will be considered as part of the final scheme.
“We also confirm that consideration of the planning application for the motorway service area included the impact on the parkway, the potential for the parkway widening scheme going forward, as well as local roads.
“Once finalised, the business case of the widening scheme will be made available on the Council's website.”
Signatures on the residents’ petition will be accepted until this Saturday, January 11, before it is submitted to the council.
Anyone wishing to sign should email firstname.lastname@example.org.