Bypass impact review

A REPORT setting out the impact of the proposed Morpeth Northern Bypass is being prepared by county officials.

Northumberland County Council has submitted an application for a Development Consent Order for the link road between the A1 and Whorral Bank.

The proposal will be determined by the Secretary of State for the Environment, and a planning inspector is now conducting an ‘examination in public’ of the bid.

As part of the process, the council must submit a Local Impact Report, including a description of the site, proposal details, planning history, development policies, characteristics of the area, local transport patterns, site constraints and socio-economic and community matters.

Last week, its Planning and Environment Committee endorsed the approach to be taken on the document.

The road would link up with the existing Pegswood Bypass to create a transport link to south east Northumberland, which the council says will boost the local economy, as well as ease congestion in Morpeth town centre.

A report by Acting Strategic and Urban Development Manager Mark Ketley states: “The council is hopeful that by improving east-west transport links in this location, the proposal would act as a catalyst for economic regeneration.

“Once the new route is opened, it is anticipated that the bypass would improve highway connectivity within south east Northumberland, facilitate and provide access to allocated development sites and other strategic locations, thus stimulating development opportunities, job creation and sustainable improvements to the local economy, and improving highway capacity in and around Morpeth by providing an alternative route around the settlement and improved access arrangements onto the A1.”

The 3.8km long bypass would extend from the A1 to the A197, passing over the A192, Cotting Burn, How Burn and the former Pegswood opencast site. There would be a 7.3m wide single carriageway, with a speed limit of 60mph, and a separate combined cycleway and footpath.

New roundabouts would be created for access to the planned St George’s development site, A192 and proposed Northgate Business Park, with a junction, slip roads and roundabout arrangement for the A1.

A Sustainable Urban Drainage system is planned to address flood risk.

The council acknowledges that the scheme could have adverse effects, including visual, noise and ecological, which will be considered in the report.

If approved, the bypass should be completed by November 2016.