M5 ‘pinch points’ restricting growth

Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has lodged a plea for vital improvements to two critical junctions on the M5.

And it has warned that the pace of economic growth will be at risk if nothing is done.

Junction 6, serving Worcester (North), is deemed most in need of attention, with Junction 4, serving Bromsgrove, not far behind.

The LEP, in association with the county council, wants money allocated from the Highways Agency’s Pinch Point programme.

Peter Pawsey, executive chairman of Worcestershire LEP, said both junctions represented “serious pinch points”.

He cautioned: “Junction 6 is undoubtedly the more major of the two, its capacity being raised as an impediment to pretty well all significant development to the east or north of Worcester City and within its environs.

“While further improvements to Junction 6 have been agreed in respect of the proposed Worcester Technology Park phase 1, there are several other major development proposals in the pipeline for the area, each of which will create additional traffic at the interchange. To look at it another way, capacity constraints at the interchange will inhibit the economic growth and job creation in the Worcester area and across the county.

“We strongly believe therefore that a more significant and permanent solution to Junction 6 is vital if we are to succeed in our efforts to generate growth and employment in the region.”

Asking for early discussions and a meeting with the Agency, Mr Pawsey noted that the same arguments were “absolutely valid” in respect of Junction 4, though the immediacy of known pipeline development proposals was not as acute.

“However Junction 4 is an important gateway to developments south of Birmingham and within the adjoining Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, as at Longbridge, and we are therefore fully supportive of efforts to improve the interchange.”