Ring road option to be checked

A NORTHERN ring road around Murwillumbah to ease traffic congestion around the western part of the town is one of the options to be looked at by Tweed Shire Council before it deals with a controversial 100-lot subdivision plan near Barnby Street.

Residents fighting the proposal by developer Metricon on the grounds of an inadequate road system and access to service future and existing homes had a win this week when council decided to conduct the study.

The move by Murwillumbahbased councillor Barbara Carroll was supported unanimously.

It means that before council makes a final decision on the subdivision's revised master plan, it has to conduct a traffic-modelling study to review network options for mitigating the impact on the existing and proposed Barnby St precinct - including, but not limited to, a northern ring road.

The model will also incorporate current traffic flows resulting from the road-network options.

Chief planner Noel Hodges, in his report to council, had recommended that Metricon's current master plan not be supported but that if a new plan included only residential-zoned land and road accesses, as well as the building of an access off Joshua Street, it would be supported.

Under Metricon's plan, the proposed first two stages of the development would create 68 lots and new roads that would be accessed from a temporary road off Barnby Street - which residents have strongly objected to due to the traffic impacts on that and surrounding streets.

The planned third stage would create a further 29 lots and create roads including a link to West End Street which Metricon proposed council would design and build.

A staff report said the public exhibition of the master plan generated a lot of interest in the community with a total of 31 submissions and a petition with 123 signatures.

Many residents in the area have rallied to oppose the Metricon plan and have kept a keen watch on the development-application process through council.

A residents spokesman last week warned councillors at a public-access session to avoid making planning mistakes which would lead to traffic jams and road rage.

The spokesman said the plan failed to provide on so many levels and that councillors were ignoring their own strategic plan in the way they were dealing with the major proposal.

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