Council leaders have insisted the M49 ghost junction hoax is not their fault, having approved forced land sales to finally resolve it. But an opposition councilor in south Gloucestershire criticized the debacle, saying it was “highly suspicious” that landlords could buy “rescue strips” to make money from the local authority, although there is no indication that anything was done. crime.

Cabinet members agreed to the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) and gave officials the green light to continue negotiations to purchase a patchwork of parcels of land, vacant land, shoulders, drains and access rights, some as small as two square metres, belonging to various organizations and companies, including two based in Jersey. The motorway junction was built by Highways England, now National Highways, for £40 million to £50 million. Land sales are required to link it to the local road network via a new 160-metre highway, which will link nearby giant industrial estates and distribution centers including Amazon, Lidl and Tesco.

The roundabout between Chittening and Severn Beach is currently unusable as terrain issues were not resolved before it was completed in 2020, meaning trucks have to take long detours and clog minor roads. A report to council’s cabinet on Friday 10 February said it was “highly unlikely” the scheme could be completed without a CPO, not least as ownership of one of the plots is not registered.

Read more: M49 ghost junction debacle near Bristol will end when owners are forced to sell

National Highways is covering the additional costs of £7m for the local authority to purchase the land and complete the project, for which a planning application was recently submitted. Yate North District Liberal Democrat Opposition Director Mike Drew told the meeting: “I still don’t understand who made the decision to go ahead with this crossing without first acquiring the land.

“Whose fault is it? I guess it’s not this advice, but it could be, so who is? It seems very fishy that we have all these different landlords with little pieces of land that seem to have somehow jumped at the chance to buy these ransom strips and make money off of us.

“I suspect that the value of the land after the buyout assessment will be more than the amount of money people paid for it in the first place. Someone has to learn some lessons from this because it seems that if some people are thinking of putting a big infrastructure project up and running, like a highway junction, then there is a chance that people will buy land there and then maintain the highways, the government, authority, anyone who rescues.


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