Lorry fears are eased

FEARS that housing construction lorries could be re-routed through several communities have been allayed by the developer.

The issue had surfaced around the St Mary’s Hospital housing site at Stannington, which is being developed by Bellway Homes.

Concerns have been raised about the state of the road in Glororum since it started to be used by construction vehicles, as well as by lorries travelling to and from the nearby Well Hill opencast site.

Recent approval to extend mining operations included the adoption of a new one-way system for the opencast HGVs, which will see them travel through Clifton, Loansdean, Whalton and Tranwell to access the site and exit via Glororum.

Town and parish councils reluctantly accepted the change to ease the burden on Glororum, but they were alarmed when it was suggested by Northumberland County Council officers that the Bellway vehicles could also use the new route.

At a meeting of Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee last week, member David Parker said: “Pretty much everybody is clear that this could not just happen. I made the point quite forcibly that Bellway would have to apply for planning permission to get a variation of the condition in relation to movement of vehicles.

“We also have to bear in mind that the Bellway wagons would be laden, and we would not be talking about two-and-a-half years, it would be for eight to ten years.

“As a local councillor I have got to say that I would be resisting this situation most strongly. There is no way that people in my area would be happy about that move, particularly on a road that at times is bumper to bumper.”

Mitford Parish Council Mike Sharp said his community would also have concerns.

“We were supportive of the proposal to have a one-way system for the Hargreaves opencast vehicles, whereby they travel through Clifton, the Whalton Road and Tranwell Village to the site and go out through Glororum, provided that it wasn’t used for any other heavy goods vehicles, for example the Bellway contractors,” he said.

“We have seen what the heavy goods vehicles using the road through Glororum have done to the road and we don’t want the same thing happening to the road through Tranwell village.”

However, the concerns appear to have been eased as Bellway has now indicated that it wishes to stick to its original route through Glororum.

A county council spokeswoman said: “Bellway has confirmed this week that it will continue to use existing routes for accessing the St Mary’s Hospital site.”