LONG-SOUGHT plans to improve safety on a road by Neston have moved a step closer.

Cheshire West and Chester Council and the campaign group for safety on the A540, Action54Zero, have continued to work together to explore options for major road improvements.

A preferred option for improvement of the A540 junction with Upper Raby Road / Raby Park Road has now emerged, which involves the introduction of traffic signals with a controlled pedestrian crossing.

This option will now be subject to detailed highway design and feasibility, taking into account factors such as neighbouring property, landscape and ecology, air quality, utility cables or pipes and project costs.

Action54Zero, alongside other key stakeholders, will continue to be involved in this process and further updates will be provided by the Council at key milestones in this important initiative.

Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport said: “I am pleased to be able to confirm that funding has been allocated in this coming financial year to develop proposals that will seek to improve the safety of the A540 and in particular, the junction with Raby Park Road.

“At a recent meeting with the campaign group, our team presented the preferred design option for A540 junction with Upper Raby Road / Raby Park Road and I was pleased to hear of the group’s overwhelming support for this option.

“It is now vitally important that this preferred option is taken forward appropriately with key stakeholders directly affected by the proposal alongside the Action54Zero group."

The group was set up following campaigning by Pauline Fielding and other resident groups for improvements along the A540, particularly at its junction with Raby Park Road.

The campaign came following the death of Mrs Fielding's son at the A540/Raby Park Road junction.

"I would once again like to thank Mrs Fielding and the group for their passionate and determined campaign to improve safety and connectivity on this stretch of highway.”

Once designs are complete, the project will move into delivery phase with anticipated completion in 2023/24.

Speaking earlier this year, Pauline Fielding said: “It’s hard to believe that after more than 25 years of campaigning to reduce dangers on the A540, in particular the junction of Raby Park Road with Chester High Road, funding has been allocated to develop proposals to achieve this and that Cheshire West and Chester Council are working together on design options with our campaign group, Action54Zero.

“It’s almost 26 years since our son Andrew died at the junction in a crash caused by a driver who did not stay at the scene and who was never traced.

"We had long recognised the dangers of the junction and had always avoided turning there, so we determined we would campaign to prevent the same thing happening to others as had happened to us.

“On behalf of my family and Action54Zero which represents a wide range of interested parties I would like to express our appreciation for the recent constructive response from the council to our longstanding concerns about the A540. It is a significant example of how the council budget process can work well for communities.

“The A540 is a vital connection for Neston and it is essential that it is both safe and efficient. We believe that the traffic light proposal for Raby Park Road, linked to changes at related junctions and to pedestrian access to Neston High School, is both necessary and sufficient to meet our stated requirements. We look forward to continuing our work with CWaC to provide a solution that improves safety for all road users, especially the most vulnerable.”