A1 Link Road Saved?
Local campaigners were celebrating after learning that Highways England is unlikely to be closing the Birchfield Gardens access to the Western Bypass when they widen and reduce the speed limit along the A1 between Scotswood and Brunton.
Jason Smith, who was recently re-selected as the Newcastle First spokesman for Lemington Ward (pictured), said: "I am delighted that Highways England have seen sense. Had they better understood the local area and the issues this would create, they never would have proposed this.
"This is a victory for every one of the local residents who wrote to Highways England, attended the Highways England display and signed the petition set up by local residents, standing firm against the vested interests.
"I was disappointed at the refusal of the council to object to this proposal. While senior Labour councillors refused to object and Lib Dems and Tories did nothing, local residents worked with Newcastle First campaigners and independent councillors from Westerhope to take a strong stand against the crazy proposal."
The proposal to close the Birchfield Gardens access to the A1 was made as part of changes proposed to the A1 between Scotswood and North Brunton.
Highways England considered widening the road but decided this was too costly so will be changing the two standard lanes to three narrower lanes within the existing highway boundary, retaining all existing structures. This cheaper option will result in the speed limit up to juntion 78 (to Fawdon and Kingston Park) being reduced from 70mph to 50mph.
Jason added: "We need to remain vigilant. Highways England have three options, two of which would reshape but ultimately retain the Birchfield Gardens link. However, there is a third option - the most expensive - that may still result in the access road being closed. They have said that this is still "subject to design work and approval" so there is still the possibility that they will go back on their commitment."
Background information on the proposals is available here.