Blackpool residents 'left in lockdown' win battle to reopen vital road junction
Updated: May 20
Blackpool residents have won their battle to have a road junction re-opened after weeks of traffic misery.
People living on Division Lane, on the edge of Blackpool, say jams on nearby Common Edge Road due to roadworks have left them “in lockdown”. The frustration led some to take matters into their own hands to remove concrete barriers to unblock a junction with Midgeland Road in order to provide an alternative access point.
This has angered residents of Midgeland Road, who say restoring the through route will create a rat run. But council chiefs have confirmed the junction is being kept open, with the roadworks on Common Edge Road expected to be completed by the end of May when a full review of the situation is expected.
People living on Division Lane say taxis and delivery drivers are unable to reach them, while businesses have lost customers. Access via Midgeland Road was temporarily restored when Division Lane had to be closed at the junction with Common Edge Road to enable a drain to be repaired.
But it was then closed again before now being re-opened. Rachel Barr, who runs Charnwood Kennels on Division Lane, said: “I’ve had customers who haven’t turned up because they don’t know how to get to me because of all the confusion.
“People are trying to take their children to school and are being late because they don’t know which junction will be open. We understand the work needs to be done, but we would just like a bit of courtesy and to know how to get to and from our homes.”
Rachel added residents were also worried emergency vehicles would be delayed in reaching properties if the Midgeland Road junction remained closed.
Claire Whitehouse, who also owns a business on Division Lane said: “Today a 10 minute journey to Whitehills Business Park and back took me 50 minutes.
“How long can the council disregard residents and businesses on the lane, and inconvenience home owners and clients of these businesses by these lengthy delays?”
She added taxis were “refusing to pick residents up as it’s not worth their while”, delivery drivers were getting lost due to confusing signage, and food take-aways refused to deliver. Meanwhile "clients of the businesses are staying away as they don’t want to sit in traffic for 40 to 45 minutes".
The junction between Midgeland Road and Division Lane was permanently closed in 2014 after complaints the route was being used as a rat run by speeding motorists. A resident of Midgeland Road, who did not wish to be named, said they feared re-opening the route would lead to accidents.
They said: “This part of Midgeland Road is a country lane and we had a lot of accidents which is why we had to close it. A lot of horse riders use it but the riding school can’t bring their horses out now, it’s dangerous for children and for elderly people living in the care home on this stretch of the road.”
There have been long queues of traffic for several weeks on Queensway, which is the main route between Blackpool and St Annes, due to roadworks at the junction of Division Lane and Common Edge Road.
The area straddles both Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council highways authorities, with the improvements needed to provide access to new sports pitches at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.
A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “The works on Common Edge Road are essential to open the new £6m sports pavilion, changing rooms and pitches and have to be completed this year as there is a time limit on the Town Deal funding for the works. We expect to clear the temporary traffic lights in three weeks’ time and anticipate the final resurfacing of the road will take place from May 30 to June2 as an evening and overnight road closure
“In March, a collapsed drain on Division Lane meant that Lancashire County Council had to close the junction onto Common Edge Road and re-open the previously closed junction with Midgeland Road.”
The drain has now been repaired, with three-way lights back in place but it has been decided to keep the junction between Midgeland Road and Division Lane open. The council said there had been “frequent moving and damaging to the temporary barriers”.
Eventually a new eastern gateway access road will also be built into the enterprise zone, which will ease congestion at the current access point on Amy Johnson Way while also opening up 10.5 hectares of development land.