‘Ambulance response times could be affected by Cuerden plans’

Derek Cartwright, director of operations at North West Ambulance Service, is worried about how the Cuerden Strategic Site will affect response times
Derek Cartwright, director of operations at North West Ambulance Service, is worried about how the Cuerden Strategic Site will affect response times
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The head of the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has voiced concerns over a major new development planned for South Ribble.

Derek Cartwright, director of operations at NWAS, stated that if road infrastructure was inadequate around the Cuerden Strategic site near Farington and Lostock Hall, it could adversely affect emergency response times.

The 65-hectare site is earmarked for a mix of commercial, industrial and leisure use, creating up to 2,500 jobs.

In a letter to John Jones, of the Limit Cuerden campaign group, Mr Cartwright wrote: “From an NWAS perspective, already we experience a high volume of traffic around that area and feel that the additional pressure of this new development of an employment area could, without improving the surrounding roads, have some impact on our response times in the area.”

An NWAS spokesman clarified the group’s position, saying: “New developments are constantly appearing throughout the region and we work very closely with local authorities to ensure that the people who will live and work on these new sites have access to the emergency services.

“Provided planners take access into account when designing the layout and routes in and out of estates such as this, there is no reason, from our point of view, why these developments should not go ahead. We constantly review our resources in local areas because of the ever-changing landscape in communities and would always take into account an increase in the local population when making these decisions.”

The Cuerden Strategic Site is part of the £430m City Deal plans, and already progress is being made to upgrade the A582 to a dual carriageway by 2018/19.

In January, work will start on Stanifield roundabout and the county council will soon consult on road widening from the motorway junction of the M61/M6 into Preston.