By monitoring comments on the local Facebook group, as well as speaking to residents, the issue of traffic congestion was one I needed to have a good look at. I therefore got out of bed a bit earlier than usual and made my way to Dickens Heath one morning before Christmas.
The photographs taken show the extent of the problem. It must be stated that much of the traffic is not vehicle residents as both Dickens Heath Road and Rumbush Lane (which are the two route through the village when travelling towards Solihull) as the routes are widely used by drivers from further afield and use these routes as a short cut from the sometimes congested Motorway.
The visit was a ‘snapshot’ and what was observed may not be typical. However, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate this was one of the better mornings.
What might be suggested is that as the period observed was during the morning peak time getting from the village centre to the traffic island at the junction of Dickens Heath Road and Tanworth Lane in 15 to 18 minutes is within tolerance. This is clearly contentious because onwards travel into Shirley and Solihull will be met with further traffic delays, adding to the travel time (whether using public or private transport). The timing on the photographs clearly indicates the length of time a white transit type van took to negotiate Dickens Heath Road from near to the village green towards Tanworth Lane.
The amount of traffic using the village as a through route is a cause for concern. The village was developed from the early 2000’s as a model small(ish) estate. Further development has increased the size and the added traffic has created the heavy congestion. I am seeking a traffic count of vehicles using these through routes although some of this information may be contained with traffic management plans for the new Tidbury Green developments.
In reporting the findings to the councils Highway and Neighbourhood Officers I will be seeking some creative measures that may encourage traffic to not use Dickens Heath as a through route; other routes may be better for traffic management, reduce congestion at pinch points and also reduce the increasing threat of damaging air quality in the village (especially on Dickens Heath Road). Whilst I was walking along Dickens Heath Road the fumes I breathed in weren’t at all nice. This is also a route for pedestrians and cyclists. I have sought advice from council officers to look at the air quality on this stretch of road.
I have already highlighted the problems more traffic will bring if the proposals in the (Draft) Local Development Plan manifest themselves. I have already called for the removal of allocations 4 (land west of Dickens Heath) and 13 (south of Shirley – between Whitlock’s End and Dickens Heath) because of the added problems of congestion that will be caused in and around the junctions of Dickens Heath Road, Tanworth Lane and Blackford Road). Not only will additional traffic using these junctions add to the existing problems at these traffic locations there will be the added serious problem of poorer air quality, from Dickens Heath into Shirley and Solihull, through worsening congestion.
Local Development Plan – update:
I last updated residents about the LDP in November. My post, which has far greater details about proposals, can be read here: https://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2018/11/01/local-development-plan-review-update/
Borough Councillors will be attending a briefing this week (Thursday 9th). It may be a revised plan is then published for consultation. We will obviously have to wait and see but what I have stated previously as well as within this report, will have an impact and the issues will clearly have to be addressed or the proposals will fail.