A FARMING family hit the roof when plans for a £35.6m road scheme landed on their doormat showing a new carriageway ploughing across the middle of their fields.
Roy and Margaret Shaw of Rendova Farm, Mollington, had been vaguely aware of proposals for changes to the road layout at the busy roundabout near their home.
But they were outraged to discover preliminary designs showing the virtual decimation of their farm, without any consultation or input from them.
The aim is to help traffic using the A5117 flow more freely between the North West and North Wales. At the moment this traffic gets snarled up with motorists travelling between Chester and Wirral on the Parkgate Road at a bottle-neck roundabout which is very busy at peak times.
Mrs Shaw, who received the design in the post on Monday, said: 'We were shocked when we received our copy of the road scheme map to discover that the new roundabout and slip road uses half of Rendova Farm, even cutting through the front garden. We would like to know where the local representative has been to get this far without them consulting the owners of the land to be used.'
Mrs Shaw, who says she has received no verbal or written explanations from the Highways Agency, said if the scheme went ahead it would make the farm no longer viable as a business.
'Rendova Farm and Rendova Farm Shop and the 'lamb sign' in the field are known all over the country,' she added.
Stanley and Doreen Hourd, of Stan's Field, Powey Lane, had hoped to retire to peace and tranquillity in their bungalow but they now fear this will be shattered by a slip road in front of the house.
'This new road comes within 20 feet of my house,' said Mr Hourd, a retired haulage contractor, who leases the yard by the house - where he has lived for 60 years - for the storage of five vehicles.
'It seems I'm losing my entrance and half an acre of my haulage yard, which will be the end of it.' He added: 'My wife is traumatised. We didn't plan on moving. We had hoped to end our days here but if they put that road in, we will have to go.'
Mr Hourd, 77, has instructed a solicitor and is refusing contractors permission to conduct surveys on his land.
The first he knew of the plan was when a company representative visited him last month.
'He had a plan with him. He said "there is only one and I'm not supposed to show you" or words to that effect. He showed it me, but only for a fleeting second.'
Also affected by the scheme is the county council-owned Oakwood farm, which would lose land, and Ash House Farm, farmed by Robert Jones, which will lose the corner of a field.
The Highways Agency says the scheme will replace two existing roundabouts, and a signal controlled junction, making the road safer, less congested and will improve access to the Deeside Park industrial area.
Detailed planning work will now be carried out with a view to construction work starting in 2006/07, with the improvements being completed by 2007/08.
The Agency says the improvements will provide a free-flow link between the end of the M56, along the A5117, to the A550 into North Wales.
It says the route is part of the Trans-European Road Network and is seen as 'a vital link between the North West and North Wales, which will aid the economic growth of the area'.
Spokesman Clive Naish stressed the scheme was in the early stages and there would be a formal consultation in the spring, and possibly an exhibition.
But he added: 'It's highly unlikely, having got into the roads programme, that it will not be built. How it affects individuals is what is up for debate. Although these issues are taken into account, there has to be overwhelming reasons for it not to be built.'
The Agency says the plans form part of the Government's 10 Year Transport Plan and was seen as one of the most important road projects in the region.