Picking up the pieces
Highways bosses have promised to do everything possible to ensure Ollerton gets a new £2.5m roundabout in the next four years, despite the area missing out on a £50m lottery grant.
A partnership including Nottinghamshire County Council and the Forestry Commission last week failed in its bid for the grant, which would have seen the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre replaced, and the forest rejuvenated.
The county council was hoping to use £1.5m from the lottery bid to meet the total estimated cost of £2.5m to build a new larger roundabout at Forest Corner, where the A616, A614, the A6075 converge near Ollerton.
Residents have been campaigning for a larger roundabout and other measures to be introduced to alleviate heavy traffic queuing through Ollerton, and motorists taking short cuts along Station Road and Main Street in Ollerton village.
At a meeting of Ollerton and Boughton Town Council, members said they hoped the roundabout work would still soon go ahead, despite the failure of the lottery bid.
Mr Stan Crawford said they had campaigned for many years to have the roundabout improved, but it had literally been a lottery of whether they would win.
He said despite this, he hoped they would still look to start the work by 2010.
The council leader, Mr Ben Wells, said the roundabout was one of the most important issues in the town.
He said: “I would like to think the roundabout would receive the highest priority necessary, and I am keeping my fingers crossed no excuses come out.”
The Mayor of Ollerton and Boughton, Mr Terry Bell, said: “We should not sit back. We have got to push the county council for it to be improved like other roundabouts have been.”
Mr Tony Spratley said: “Referring to it as Ollerton roundabout makes it sound quite parochial but it is a very important road junction.”
The county councillor for Ollerton and Boughton, and the council’s environment portfolio holder, Mrs Stella Smedley, said: “I am determined to get this done.
“Obviously missing out on the lottery money has knocked us back, but we are reviewing the situation to see where we are.
“I do not want this to fall back and I am still hopeful we can find the money to push it through in 2009-10.
“It is absolutely horrendous, and Ollerton people feel the same about this that Newark people feel about the A46.
“It is not top of the list of schemes in the Local Transport Plan, but I will do everything I can to get it done.”
The county council’s transport programmes manager, Mr Ray Dunajko, said: “This is still high on the county council agenda, and the portfolio holder is pushing this quite strongly.
“We are well aware of the continuing problems of traffic queueing and the knock-on impact of people seeking short cuts through the village.
“The council is now looking to find the £1.5m shortfall.
“Some money was available through the Local Transport Plan, the rest would have come from the Living Legend bid.
“We are now seeking whether it will be possible to pay for it through the county council’s capital programme.”
Mr Dunajko said they had held consultations with residents who were shown two similar schemes.
He said one involved an enlarged roundabout, and a second similar scheme, which was slightly more expensive, incorporated traffic signals.
He said a preferred option would be chosen and a report would be sent to the council’s cabinet.
He hoped the scheme would be completed by 2011, but four or five plots of land would need to be bought to extend the roundabout, which could involve compulsory purchase orders.
He said if landowners were not happy with a sale and a public inquiry was needed, the start date could be delayed.
Sherwood: The Living Legend bid for the £50m Big Lottery Fund grant lost out to the Sustrans2 project, which will see a network of cycle routes developed across the country.
It competed against three projects nationwide in the competition, which was decided by a television vote.