Transforming Lancaster Travel
M6 Junction 33 link
The Lancaster Local Plan sets out the need for large amount of housing in South Lancaster. It is expected that in excess of 3,500 new homes could be built over the next fifteen years comprising land to the west of the A6. Land would also be identified for further development beyond 2031. A further 750 homes are also planned off Bailrigg Lane between Scotforth and the University.
The potential scale of development in South Lancaster will see a significant increase in the number of journeys. These are predicted to be both local and longer distance generated by the new housing and University expansion. To enable and support these transformational proposals we have concluded major improvement is necessary to the existing transport infrastructure that serves south Lancaster.
The District of Lancaster Highways and Transport Masterplan has responded to the highways requirements by proposing to tackle access by road and ease existing congestion which occurs in the centre of Galgate village.
The M6 Junction 33 link aims to:
- Create a highway connection to proposed housing areas including South Lancaster Strategic Growth Area
- Improve M6 Junction 33
- Reduce traffic on the A6 and in Galgate to remove the Air Quality Management Area
West Coast Mainline underpass
The options are very limited for gaining access to the South Lancaster Strategic Growth Area from the A6 Lancaster/Preston road corridor. The only option, which will be feasible in engineering terms is at the western end of Hazelrigg Lane where the West Coast Mainline is above the level of the surrounding land.
Link road options
A link road is proposed so that:
- Access to M6 Junction 33 can be made without traffic passing through Galgate village;
- Provide highway access to the South Lancaster Strategic Growth Area; and,
- Improve air quality in Galgate to enable the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) to be removed.
Progress and next steps
Assessment of the route options based on their impact on the environment, engineering feasibility and traffic performance concluded the preferred route as Central 1. An initial technical evaluation, and public and stakeholder consultation, both indicate this option as offering the best balance between most benefit and least impact.
This route would provide a link road closely following the western boundary of the M6 motorway between the villages of Ellel and Galgate, joining with Hazelrigg Lane on the Galgate/university side of the motorway. The motorway sliproads would be relocated to a location at the south east boundary of Lancaster University. This is considered the preferred route based on an assessment of the options taking into account environmental impact, engineering feasibility and benefit to travel.
In February 2021, cabinet gave permission for officers to begin drafting a Development Consent Order, and approved the use of the county council's planning powers to acquire any land or rights needed to construct and maintain the roads.
The scheme represents a nationally significant infrastructure project due to the changes proposed to the motorway junction size and scale of the development involved. Final approval would be needed from the Secretary of State with the proposals first being scrutinised by the Planning Inspectorate. An examination in public will be held as part of the determination process which will consider all responses received.
• September 2022 – Public consultation
• May 2023 - Submit Development Consent Order
• May 2023 – January 2025 - Consideration of Development Consent Order
Find out more in the documents and resources area.