Shopping and bypass feature in town plan

AMBITIOUS plans for Ponteland’s future have been unveiled by its town council.

The authority has outlined its long-term vision for the area, which includes a three-stage bypass scheme to save costs, the extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro system to Ponteland and moving most or all of the schools to a campus off Rotary Way.

It says two business parks could be built next to the bypass and it will continue to press for the regeneration of Merton Way and Broadway in Darras Hall, while it will oppose any plans to develop housing or offices on green belt land.

The 53-page Local Plan, which was drawn up over the past nine months, includes specific sections on transport, employment, housing, shopping, education, leisure, public services car parking and the environment among others.

The first stage of a potential bypass route would go from the A696 to the North Road coming out of Ponteland and the second stage would run from the North Road to a point just north of Eland Green coming out on the Berwick Hill Road.

Finally, the route would travel to the roundabout at the end of Rotary Way where The Badger Inn is located.

Ponteland Mayor Peter Cowey said: “Our council can’t just think of the next six months or year ahead, we need to set out what we think should happen to Ponteland in the future.

“These are ambitious suggestions, but our attitude is that we should try to press for these things as they will benefit the town as a whole.

“Moving the schools to one campus would allow them to work together even more closely, provide new facilities and equipment for our young people and reduce congestion in the centre of Ponteland as a significant number of pupils travel from the Newcastle area.

“This will also free up some land to help meet the needs of residents, such as increasing the amount of open space and play areas, building business units and putting in place some affordable housing.

“Having the bypass will provide opportunities for business parks, which would allow people who currently work from home to move into specific work spaces and stay in Ponteland as well as create new employment.”

The council will approach Northumberland County Council about a draft model which would see the unitary authority part-fund affordable homes, but if this type of property is sold for more money it must not be too big a rise to make sure it remains affordable for the next buyer and some of the profit needs to be fed back into the affordable housing fund.

It is also seeking an additional site for allotments as it believes there is demand for more plots in the area.

The document is available online at www.pontelandtowncouncil.co.uk/News.html or a copy can be purchased from its office in Meadowfield Court for £3.

Written comments are required by August 10 as the authority needs to have an input to the county council’s Issues and Options document, which has a consultation deadline of August 15. But residents will have the chance to speak to councillors about the plans at a Memorial Hall event some time between August 10 and 15.