Full details of the bid being drawn up by Hull City Council have yet to be released. However, it is known that any grant successfully secured from the next round of the government’s Levelling Up Fund will mainly be spent in the Kingswood area.
Any eventual spending programme would be expected to closely mirror a series of already agreed transport priorities that feature in Kingswood Area Action Plan (KAAP). Adopted by the council in 2016, the KAAP sets out policy guidance on how the KIngwood area should be developed up to the year 2030, reports Hull Live.
By then, the area is expected to feature nearly 7,000 homes with many households having two cars. With several main roads in the area already struggling to cope, the need for improved transport links is clear.
When independent planning inspector William Fieldhouse delivered his report on the plan after chairing a public examination, he highlighted transport as one of the main issues facing Kingswood’s future. He said: “There is clearly a concern among some local residents and councillors that parts of Kingswood and the surrounding area already suffer from traffic congestion and highway safety problems and that the additional development proposed will worsen the situation.”
But Mr Fieldhouse welcomed the KAAP’s proposed solutions, including a series of roundabout upgrades. He added: “The mitigation measures deemed necessary are based on potential impacts of the proposals having assumed a worst-case traffic scenario.
“I have no doubt that at times local roads are busy and that local residents and other road users experience frustrating delays. However, this is not uncommon in most cities in the UK and the council confirmed at the hearing that in comparative terms the Kingswood area does not suffer from particularly adverse congestion or highway safety problems. Furthermore, the technical evidence before me indicates that the proposed mitigation measures would be sufficient to ensure that the residual cumulative impacts on the transport network would be significantly less than severe.”
A policy section in the KAAP covering future investment in road, cycle and pedestrian routes says improvements will be needed at a series of roundabouts at the junctions of Roebank, Althorpe Road and Runnymeade Way, Raich Carter Way, Barnes Way and Gibraltar Road and the roundabouts on Wawne Road near Kingswood Academy. It suggests additional lanes and traffic signals at the Rosebank, Althorp Road and Runnymede Way roundabouts while the approach roads to the roundabouts at Raich Carter Way, Barnes Way and Gibraltar Road would be widened.
In addition, upgrades are also envisaged to roundabouts just outside the area covered by the KAAP but are expected to be impacted by development within it. These include the roundabout at Thomas Clarkson Way and Ennerdale; the roundabout at Ennerdale, Stockholm Road and Sutton Road and the Dunswell roundabout on the A1079 which links to Raich Carter Way, the main western approach and exit road to the estate.
In addition, the KAAP also proposes building a new east-west link road between Kesteven Way and Wawne Road, extending an initial link road across the Engine Drain to create a new direct bus route between the eastern side of Kingswood and north Bransholme. It is not yet known whether this will feature in the new bid, said the Hull Live report.
What is more certain is an intention by the council to accelerate these upgrade schemes should it secure the necessary Levelling Up cash to turn them into reality. At the moment, funding for the proposed works is dependent on phased contributions from developers linked to trigger points when a certain number of new houses is reached in different parts of the area.
Back in 2016, the KAAP estimated at least £5m would be needed to upgrade all the identified roundabouts with the main landowner, Kingswood Parks Development Company, being expected to meet around 15 percent of the total cost. Having extra government cash in the pot would certainly speed up the necessary work.
A chunk of any Whitehall funding would also go towards finally getting a long-delayed northern park and ride facility up and running. Originally envisaged to be located near the Dunswell roundabout, progress on the idea has stalled for years. mainly because of land ownership issues.
A potential site on a triangle of greenfield land between Beverley Road and Raich Carter Way is included in the KAAP for a park and ride site but that was based on the idea of a shuttle bus service to and from the city centre using Beverley Road. Speaking at the scrutiny meeting, the council’s director of regeneration Mark Jones said officials were now examining a possible alternative route along the Stoneferry Road Corridor.