Posted: Mon 13th Jan 2020

Updated: Wed 15th Jan

Health Board advises visitors to hospital to “factor in potential traffic congestion” – we ask AM & MP about the issue for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jan 13th, 2020

Calls for improved infrastructure to help address traffic and congestion around Wrexham town centre have been made.

It comes after issues at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital last week, which resulted in standstill traffic in the area and some motorists unable to leave the car park for over an hour.

Wrexham Council later confirmed that the problems had been caused by a traffic light fault.

However parking and traffic issues in and around the hospital site – particularly at peak times – have been ongoing and well-documented for many years.

In 2016 reported that an external independent report on parking at the hospital had been commissioned and that the health board was awaiting results.

The report at the time found that of the 1600 parking spaces available at the hospital the report found that at peak times demand for space can exceed those spaces by around 10%.

Roll forward three years to April 2019 when it was confirmed by Betsi Cadwaladr that several options had been put in place and other were being looked at – including increasing the car parking capacity at the site.

We contacted Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to find out if there was any update on measures being introduced to relieve parking pressures at the hospital car park.

A spokesperson for the health board said: “We’d urge anyone visiting Wrexham Maelor Hospital to factor the potential traffic congestion during peak hours.

“We understand that parking is a challenge on site, and have made efforts to ease pressures, including introducing a drop-off area and promoting alternative travel arrangements to the site, such as cycling and car share schemes.”

Outside of the hospital there are concerns that local infrastructure and roads are unable to cope with the current volume of traffic and the pressures of additional developments in the area.

Last year reported that plans for more than 300 new student flats on Crispin Lane and behind the art college on Regent Street had been given the go ahead, despite concerns from councillors about the impact such a development could have on traffic.

Plans for a further 410 apartments on the Plas Coch end of the Wrexham Glyndwr University campus were also given the go ahead at the same meeting.

However applications for housing developments in New Broughton and Rhosnesni were both rejected. An appeal to overturn this decision has since been lodged.

Each of the applications all feature as part of the university’s ‘Campus 2025’ plans.

Plans to build 450 homes on the ‘circus field’ next to the B&Q Roundabout have recently been submitted. Further parcels of land around the town have also been allocated for development in the council’s Local Development Plan.

We contacted Wrexham’s Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths to ask if there has been communication with the health board, Welsh Government and council about infrastructure around Wrexham, particularly that part of town.

We also asked if there had been lobbying to the Welsh Government for extra funding to improve the infrastructure around Wrexham town.

Lesley Griffiths AM said: “Traffic congestion around the Maelor Hospital has been particularly troublesome over the last few days and constituents have contacted me expressing their frustrations.

“Some have suggested there is a particular issue with the traffic lights on Croesnewydd Road and I have written to Wrexham Council to request the problem be rectified urgently and to highlight the latest issues generally.”

“Local traffic issues are Wrexham Council’s responsibility but with regard to longer-term, larger-scale solutions, the Welsh Government has commissioned a project which is looking at making improvements to the A483 in Wrexham, specifically between junctions 3 to 6.

“Relevant stakeholders are assessing local congestion issues and potential solutions are being developed.

“I also hope the Wrexham Gateway Project, focused on regenerating the area of the town around the Mold Road corridor, will bring about improved travel connections, including both rail and road networks.”

We also asked Wrexham’s MP Sarah Atherton what she would like to see done in terms of infrastructure around Wrexham and the Maelor in particular. We also queried if there are there further plans for meetings with the council, health board and Welsh Government about the long-running issues in that area.

Sarah Atherton told us: “I have received a number of complaints from residents regarding congestion and infrastructure concerns in the Wrexham area, an issue which I am eager to see addressed.

“I have been working with residents to ensure that action is taken to see that new builds in our area are of the right number, in the right place and that our infrastructure can cope with the increased demand.

“We must look at how we can make the infrastructure suitable before going ahead with further developments around Wrexham Maelor Hospital, to avoid yet more congestion.

“I am eager to work with the responsible parties within the council, the Welsh Assembly, along with the hospital administration to see how the increasing congestion problem can be addressed.”

We also asked Wrexham Council with plans recently approved to develop new flats at Glyndwr University and an appeal lodged with their plans for the housing development in New Broughton – along with more development planned near the B&Q Roundabout – what lobbying has Wrexham Council done with the Welsh Government for funding to help improve road infrastructure around the town centre in particular.

We also asked for comment detailing the work between the council and heath board about improving car parking and transport to and from the hospital site.

Wrexham Council declined to comment.

We also asked Wrexham Council if it was true there was a specific linked issue regarding road resurfacing and induction loop vehicle detectors at a set of traffic lights not being replaced. We did not get a comment.

*Picture of the gridlocked hospital car park tweeted to by Julie last week

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