A councillor says he can hardly believe the £815,000 bill for ‘so-called’ improvements at the Lydiate Ash roundabout island and says it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.

And he says whoever has decided to put tarmac before spending on school meals for children or laptops for lockdown pupils should ‘consider their position.’

But the county’s highways chief says the work is value for money and part of an important strategy to upgrade the A38 and cutting journey times, with more improvements on the way.

Councillor Peter McDonald says several residents have approached him complaining about the cost of the work ‘as they could see little improvement.’

“I certainly agree with them, as it would seem the only noticeable change was the felling of trees. £815,000 is a considerable amount of money to fell a few trees and then have them replaced by saplings.

“With schools crying out for IT devices to enable students to be able to participate in remote learning, the money would have comfortably funded the purchase of IT devices for the 600 plus students in dire need of laptops and nutritional meals for those receiving free school meals.

“This is a clear example of tarmac coming before the wellbeing of those in need of support and those responsible for wasting tax payers money should consider their position.“

But Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet Member Economy and Infrastructure, said: “The improvements to the A38 at Junction 4 of the M5 provide capacity enhancements to help reduce journey times and improve journey time reliability.

“The improvements include the provision of additional and longer exit and approach lanes, which enable the junction to clear far more efficiently.

“A business case was developed for the scheme, which demonstrates that it offers high value for money against government criteria.”

He said the money came from Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, Highways England and developer contributions.

“These works are part of a wider scheme to provide capacity and safety enhancements to the A38 corridor in Bromsgrove.

“Work has already been completed to introduce a new right turn at Barley Mow Lane and works are ongoing at Junction 1 of the M42. Further improvements are planned along the whole corridor, as part of the A38 Bromsgrove Route Enhancement Programme.”