A HOUSEHOLDER is prepared to perform a naked protest to get the Highways Agency to listen to her concerns about road alterations just yards from her front door.
Diane Barnett, husband Guy and next door neighbours Betty and Gerry McPhillips of Shotwick, are at their wits’ end over £58m changes to the A5117 which began in October 2006 and are nearing completion.
In the past they used to join the dual carriageway directly and although a safer access road has been installed the angle is so sharp the Barnetts cannot get their caravan out and the McPhillips face delivery problems for propane gas and their septic tank.
The Highways Agency is to overcome the problem by widening their gateways but this will mean losing part of their high hedges leading to a loss privacy and they claim a request for a fence has been rejected.
Diane, 43, a mother-of-three, who has lived at the property for 20 years, said: “I have said I will lie here naked and the bridge is a perfect position for a banner and the Highways Agency will have to pay for the therapy for the motorists!”
Mrs Barnett, says the road has moved nearer to their homes and is 1.5m closer than expected resulting in greater traffic noise although free secondary glazing has been provided. Ideally, the families would like to have an acoustic barrier fitted but this has also been rejected.
Betty, 65, who has lived at her home for 15 years, said a colony of great crested newts had been treated better after £312,000 – or £20,800 per newt – was spent on relocating them to make way for the road. Betty said she now takes over-the-counter sleeping tablets and the stress had not helped her husband Gerry’s heart condition.
However, the families will be compensated two years after the completion of the road works.
Highways Agency spokeswoman Barbara Phillips said negotiations were on-going with the households over their concerns and requests.
She said: “We know what they want. It’s a question of can the Highways Agency do what they want or is there an alternative proposal.”
The road improvements will provide a free-flow link between the end of the M56, along the A5117, to the A550 into North Wales. In the past the traffic has become snarled up with motorists travelling between Chester and Wirral on the Parkgate Road at a bottle-neck roundabout.