Gridlock fears over Longton Asda store plans
TRAFFIC at a retail park is to be assessed following fears that a planned supermarket development could cause ‘gridlock’.
Highways officers are to closely monitor traffic flow at Phoenix Park, in Longton, in a bid to minimise congestion at the site.
The decision was taken after Asda unveiled plans for a new store and car park in nearby Spring Garden Road.
Motorists have already been monitored at the retail park on a number of occasions, when surveyors found minimal disruption at the former timber yard in comparison with the neighbouring Tesco site, in Baths Road.
But shoppers claim to have seen an increase in traffic in the town centre since the opening of the development, which houses a Smyths toys and McDonald’s.
One shopper said driving to and from Phoenix Park could be ‘a nightmare’.
Businesses also say they want to prevent the issue of queuing traffic at the site – despite the Asda planning application still awaiting approval.
Richard Cresswell, chairman of Longton Chamber of Trade, and owner of engineering and ironmongery products firm RD Cresswell and Co, said a traffic survey is long overdue.
He said: “Since the park has been developed there has definitely been a big increase in traffic.
“I have never seen so many cars going in and out and I dread to think what it will be like in the run up to Christmas. Baths Road and The Strand are continually gridlocked.
Seventy eight-year-old shopper Ethel Woodward, of Marlborough Road, in Longton, added: “It can be a nightmare getting in and out of there. It’s chaos.
“But if people are going to develop places like Phoenix Park or Asda, then you have to expect there is going to be more traffic.”
Asda wants to transform the former Somerfield site into a two-storey supermarket, with parking spaces for up to 440 cars. The scheme would also include a doctors’ surgery and two industrial units, as well as improved road and pedestrian links.
A Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said: “The issues of traffic congestion around Phoenix Park do not appear to be solely related to this particular development.
“It appears that congestion occurs at peak times, when there are peaks in demand for travel associated with all the local developments, along with traffic from the A50 using the junctions above the dual carriageway. The situation will continue to be monitored by officers who will ensure the issue is considered by the Highways Agency as part of the ASDA planning application.”