Plans to prevent cars from using one of the exits off a key roundabout in Northumberland is sparking major concerns.
Due to thousands of potential new homes in south-east Northumberland, there is a proposal to turn the A1171/B1505 exit off the busy Moor Farm roundabout into a bus gate.
Highways England, which is responsible for trunk roads including the A19, says that this would limit traffic movements on the northern section of the roundabout and therefore improve flow.
But this option, which would see the mini roundabout replaced and would require alternative routes for vehicles other than buses, is not proving popular with those living nearby.
An online petition against the proposal – https://tinyurl.com/y974qbjv – has been signed by more than 1,600 people.
Plus, more than 250 residents of south-east Cramlington attended an initial meeting at the Benedictine Club earlier this month, with the aim of forming an official residents’ committee to oppose the scheme.
Cramlington Town Council also has reservations and, in a statement, said that there are concerns ‘that the preferred option of providing a bus gate will add to rather than alleviate congestion.
‘At peak times, Moor Farm roundabout is already subject to major congestion and it is difficult to see how a bus gate will provide a long-term solution to this problem.’
It adds that the council ‘has strongly advised Highways England not to pursue its current proposal until full public consultation has been undertaken including a full range of possible solutions and options being made available for public consideration and comment’.
Northumberland County Council says that it is aware that the proposed scheme does not carry the support of residents and that the town council opposes the draft plan.
Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member responsible for roads, said: “In order for this option to be considered, there must be a clear understanding of the impact on the capacity on local junctions within Cramlington and on the diversionary impact for existing users of the link.
“The council has not agreed to this option and work is ongoing with Highways England to investigate and develop a viable scheme that would then be subject to consultation with stakeholders.
“Understanding the views of local residents is very important to the council and is a key part of the decision-making process.”
A Highways England spokeswoman said: “Northumberland County Council is currently considering five planning applications for around 2,000 new homes in south-east Northumberland which will increase traffic and congestion at Moor Farm roundabout if the development goes ahead.
“To support the proposed development, we have been working with Northumberland County Council and local developers to look at ways to improve the flow of traffic at Moor Farm roundabout.
“The proposal to remove the small roundabout off Moor Farm roundabout and replace it with a bus gate would reduce congestion by limiting the number of traffic movements on the northern part of the main roundabout.
“Alternative routes would be necessary for traffic using the A1711 and B1505, but with traffic operating more smoothly, traffic flow will be improved.”
The public meeting at the Benedictine Club also discussed the plans for a caravan storage facility between the B1505 and A189.
An amended application for this was rejected by councillors in July, but an appeal hearing for the original bid is taking place on Wednesday, September 12.
Anyone not at the meeting but who would wish to join the committee or be kept informed can email Gerry Killen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service