Boost to Campaign to Save A1 Slip Road
The campaign to stop Highways England closing a key local road received a boost by winning the backing of independent local councillor for Westerhope, Marc Donnelly. Councillor Marc Donnelly was first elected in 2004 and was most recently re-elected in 2016 with 74%. His majority of 2,507 was larger than the total vote achieved by any other elected councillor in the city.
More than 1,000 local residents have signed an online and paper petition launched by local residents urging Highways England to rethink their plans to remove a vital link road that connects South West Denton to the A1.
The closure is planned as part of a scheme to create three lanes on the A1 from Scotswood to North Brunton by making the lanes narrower and reduce the speed of the A1 from 70mph to 50mph.
The link road at Birchfield Gardens was included in plans when the A1 was constructed because a number of local access roads were going to be lost as a result when the A1 was finished. Highways England have been accused by residents of reneging on the deal they did at the time.
Accessing the A1 slip road directly as they do now to connect to the A1 or West Road eastbound, residents of South West Denton and surrounding areas will have to endure a diversion of more than 30 minutes in rush hour. They will have to join the West Road at Southway, which is already a busy junction, travel westbound to Lemington Road Ends and then re-joining the heavily congested eastbound West Road back to the junction with the A1.
Councillor Marc Donnelly said: “Many of the residents in Westerhope Ward complain about existing high levels of traffic on both Stamfordham Road and the West Road. Rush hour is extremely difficult.
“Re-routing thousands of cars daily onto the West Road in both directions will make journeys even more difficult for residents of Chapel House in particular but the impact will be felt on all of the surrounding roads in the Outer West of the city.
“Highways England must rethink their proposal to close the link road to the A1.”
Jason Smith, Newcastle First’s spokesman in Lemington Ward, is supporting concerned local residents and has already presented the petition to Newcastle City Council’s full council meeting asking the council to object.
Jason said: “It is clear that, when the slip road is closed, there will be a massive impact on everyone living here. In rush hour, the journey time to the closest local doctor could be in excess of 30 minutes for what should be a journey of just over a mile.
“Highways England officials have developed plans without thinking through the impact on local people and the knock-on effect to other local roads. They have failed to give a reasonable explanation about what will change on the A1 to justify reneging on a promise to local residents when the A1 was constructed.
“It is clear these plans have been cooked up by people who know nothing about the local area, don’t have to use local roads and don’t care about the impact on the lives of local people.
“This proposal will be disastrous for the whole of the Outer West of Newcastle and make existing congestion far worse. I am grateful to Councillor Marc Donnelly for throwing his weight behind our campaign to convince Highways England to honour the agreement they made when the A1 was constructed.”