Northern bypass plan welcomed

PLANS for the Morpeth Northern Bypass have been welcomed by councillors.

But the authorities in Morpeth, Pegswood and Hebron have called on Northumberland County Council to address a few issues relating to the application.

Linking the A197 at Whorral Bank to the A1 trunk road south of Fairmoor would ease traffic congestion elsewhere.

It would also help local businesses by improving the connection to a major transport route and better the prospects for private sector-led housing investment.

Morpeth Town Council said the new road would relieve the pressure of King Edward VI School traffic along the narrow Cottingwood Lane access and the cutting into the land at Fulbeck should address visual impact and partially address noise levels.

But it stresses that there should be no increase in noise levels for residents of Lancaster Park, who are already subjected to this problem from the A1.

And its response also says: “There should be an examination in respect of the interference the new road will have on wildlife corridors (notably at Cottingwood and Howburn), possibly by the Wildlife Trust, CPRE or equivalent authority.

“If areas are rendered inhabitable to wildlife, then this will constitute a formal objection.

“Access to Fairmoor Cemetery should be as good or better than the current approach to the site.”

Pegswood Parish Council says it is “unanimously and strongly in favour of the development”.

Members have asked for all movements of cut and fill materials to be contained within the site perimeter.

“Any materials excavated and deemed unsuitable for re-use on the site should be used to infill the lake on Pegswood Community Park Phase II, in liaison with Banks Mining,” the submission adds.

“The drainage ponds at St George’s roundabout should, if possible, be drained into the Howburn rather than the Fulbeck.

“This would ensure that the Howburn does not run dry and reduce any potential flooding risk in Morpeth via the Fulbeck.”

Hebron Parish Council welcomed the proposal as it would reduce the number of lorries going through the village, which has caused problems over the last few years.

Clerk Sheila Rowley added: “The only request was for the council to do some additional planting of mature trees and shrubs at East Shield Hill before the building work starts to limit the visual impact of the development on those residents.”

Earlier this year, the bypass met the required standards to be put on a Government ‘development pool’ list along with 22 other schemes.

And Northumberland County Council has made a ‘best and final bid’ to the Department for Transport (DfT) for 70 per cent of the £35million scheme.

The unitary authority’s contribution will come from its £42million pot to help fund major projects across the county.