I was surprised to read of plans for a new ‘Garden Village’ near Ponteland just when one near Morpeth could be reborn, but is likely to be strangled at birth.
A section of the A1 that is about to be dualled, roughly from Tritlington School to the Eshott junction, is surrounded by a surprising number of large and small homes, rural businesses, a school and a congenial pub.
Although it unifies the country as a whole, the Great North Road has had an increasingly divisive effect in our linear hamlet over the years as mounting traffic density has made it unpleasant to walk, dangerous to drive and difficult to stop at many of our neighbours’ houses.
We were teased with the offer of a bypass to the west in 2005.
It seemed too good to be true, and so it proved as the dualling money was spent elsewhere.
Now, at last, the upgrade is about to be undertaken and we are all grateful for the convenience and safety it will bring, as well as the possibility, locally, that our fractured community could heal and become again the beautiful place it once was.
It was a shock to find that one of the routes under consideration was ‘on-line’ dualling that, far from healing, would involve the demolition of a number of homes and destruction of what remained of the quality of life in many others, without any likelihood of compensation.
Many of the worst-affected surviving houses would be denied access to the dualled road, except via miles of new tracks leading to the large, graded junctions that will be necessary.
The prospect of on-line dualling is unsupportable and unendurable. The only rational choice is the appropriately coloured Green Route to the west.
I hope those of your readers who travel on the A1 will agree with the inhabitants of ‘A1ville’ and make their views known to Highways England before the pre-Christmas deadline (December 23) at A1inNorthumberland@highwaysengland.co.uk