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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008, 14:08 GMT
End of the road for long campaign
Brendon Williams
BBC News

The A494 near Queensferry
The A494 near Queensferry

Plans to widen the A494 at Queensferry were first drawn up 16 years ago.

The proposals have changed and developed over the years, but they have always attracted some opposition.

The campaign to halt the scheme stepped up a gear following a public meeting in August 2006 - a year before work was originally expected to start.

At that meeting, householders from Aston on Deeside voiced fears about noise, pollution and traffic dangers.

Many residents were concerned the road-widening scheme would simply push the "bottleneck" of traffic further afield.

Others also opposed plans to build a feeder road and new subway, which they feared would become a haven for drug users.

Campaigners celebrate the news
Campaigners said the news was the result of "people power"

The demolition of a number of houses - which were bought by the Welsh Assembly Government under a compulsory purchase scheme - was also a controversial issue.

By January 2007, the campaign against the new road had gathered momentum, and about 150 protesters staged demonstrations outside Deeside Leisure Centre where the final draft plans were publicly unveiled.

By this time, four local campaign groups had joined forces to form the Coalition Committee and took their fight to the assembly government.

One of their main objectives was to win the right to have a public inquiry. They also urged local residents to make their views known to the assembly government ahead of 9 February 2007 - the deadline for objections.

The group decided to stage their own alternative public exhibition, detailing their concerns.

But despite their objections, the assembly government appeared to be sticking to its guns, saying that without the work, "congestion will get worse".

A statement added: "Without improvement, this will adversely affect the economy of the area and cause disruption to local peoples' lives."

Boarded up properties
Some properties were boarded up following evictions

Undeterred, the campaigners pressed on.

One protestor, John Butler, from Shotton in Flintshire, penned a song called "A494 Agony" and posted it on the internet.

On 19 March 2007, opponents to the scheme celebrated after Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies announced there was to be a public inquiry.

The three-week inquiry started on 11 September 2007, and heard from the assembly government, road and transport experts as well as the objectors.

It gave opponents a chance to have their say, but they then faced an agonising wait to hear the results of the inquiry, which would not be released for more than six months.

And the campaign appeared to suffer a heavy blow when residents living in the path of the proposed road were evicted in November 2007 - despite the fact the public inquiry findings had not been publicised.

Sue Clamp
Sue Clamp said local residents were "absolutely over the moon"

The assembly government said it was helping the 30 tenants find new homes. But many saw the evictions as confirmation that the road-widening scheme would go ahead.

However, the campaigners were finally able to toast victory on 27 March 2008, when Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones confirmed the scheme in its current form had been scrapped.

It marked the end of a long and hard fight for the campaigners, who had been prepared to go to the European Court of Human Rights.

Campaigner Sue Clamp said the group had already enlisted the services of a barrister and had planned a fundraising event on 12 April to enable them to fight on.

She said: "That fundraising event will now be a victory party. We're all absolutely over the moon.

"We have spent thousands on a barrister and were mobilised to fight on.

"It just goes to show that people power, if done properly, can really work."





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