Bypass decision delayed for site visit

A PLANNING decision about the completion of the last part of a major Morpeth road link has been deferred.

Plans for the Pegswood bypass extension, to link the A1 with south east Northumberland, went before county councillors on Tuesday.

The scheme was re-affirmed recently as the authority’s top transport priority, but the proposal was received without debate by the Planning Committee, which agreed to visit the site before discussing it at a future meeting.

The two-and-a-half mile route with a cycle path would cross mainly farmland from the A197 at Whorral Bank to the A1 south of Fairmoor.

It would pass close to houses in several places, including Fairmoor, Fulbeck, West Lane End Farm, East Lane End Farm, East Shield Farm, Butley Ben, At Last and Wakefields.

Drivers would reach the A1 via a dumbell roundabout with an underpass and sliproads north west of Lancaster Park and there would be two separate roundabouts, at the A192 junction at Lane End and north west of St George’s Hospital.

There would also be a livestock underpass at West Lane End Farm, one corrugated steel arch bridge each at Cotting Burn and at How Burn, and a bridge at Fulbeck Lane.

One public footpath would cross the bypass and another would be diverted to the underpass at St Leonard’s Lane.

Excavated material would be used for embankments planted with native trees.

It is proposed to start construction in February 2014 and open the road by October 2015. The first part of the route was the Pegswood bypass, which opened four years ago.

Planning officer Sue Birnie reported: “At this stage it is considered that the main issues are likely to be compliance with national guidance and development plan policy, the principle of the development, impact on the landscape, impact on cultural and archaeological heritage, impact on local communities, impact on ecology, impact on rights of way, transport considerations, impact on residential amenity and benefits of the proposal.”