Road tunnel calls backed by councils

Calls to add a pedestrian tunnel to the proposed Morpeth Bypass have been backed by two local authorities.

Both Morpeth Town Council and Pegswood Parish Council will submit requests for the underpass as part of the formal inquiry into plans for the South East Northumberland Link Road, which would run just north of Morpeth from Pegswood to the A1.

The proposal currently provides for a wildlife tunnel under the road, but with recent enhancements and access improvements to Pegswood Park and Bluebell Woods the councils say there is now a need for a pedestrian route between the sites as well.

At a meeting of Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee last week, Vice-Chairman Bob Robertson said: “This it to do with the fact that Bluebell Woods and the leaking lake park should be linked to each other.

“When the original plan for the bypass went in those two areas didn’t connect, but that has changed. There is a mammal tunnel proposed, but the argument is that the size of the tunnel should be increased to accommodate large mammals of the two-legged variety – people. We want to have a pedestrian link and to make a tunnel for humans so they can continue from Bluebell Woods up to the Pegswood Park.”

Coun Nic Best said care should be taken to ensure the scheme does not conflict with plans by the Greater Morpeth Development Trust to make access difficult to some parts of Howburn Woods in order to protect them, but was told that those involved in the project have indicated support for the tunnel.

Committee Chairman Joan Tebbutt said: “We don’t want to hold up the bypass so this is not an objection, we just want to make a tunnel. We are very much in favour of the bypass.”

Pegswood parish councillor David Woodard has already submitted a request for a pedestrian tunnel.