Save Our Link Road
Local residents have expressed their anger at plans by Highways England to close a link road from South West Denton at Birchfield Gardens to the northbound 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 are now being accused by residents of reneging on the deal they did at the time.
People living locally received a leaflet from Highways England on Monday 16 May, giving them just a few days notice for an exhibition to show the plans. Residents who attended the exhibition angrily denounced the plans as it will substantially increase journey times for local people and add significantly to traffic on local roads.
Newcastle First spokesman in Lemington Ward Jason Smith is demanding that Highways England withdraw the plans and has launched a campaign to stop the road closure.
Jason said: “It is clear that, when the slip road is closed, there will be a massive impact on everyone living here.
“These plans were kept secret until after the elections and, when Highways England sent the information to residents, it was sent with a take away menu. Local residents were directed to a website with no information on it. Quite frankly, Geordies deserve to be treated better than this! I have raised a number of Freedom of Information requests to both Highways England and Newcastle City Council to find out who knew what and when, and where the proposal has come from.
“It was clear that these plans have been cooked up by people who know nothing about the impact on local people, don’t have to live with the consequences and I don’t think they care.
“If the slip road at Birchfield Gardens is closed, access to and from South West Denton will be impossible in winter, it will increase pressure on existing congestion hotspots near the West Road and Scotswood and increase journey times for people living in Dumpling Hall, South West Denton and other parts of Lemington.
“Within a few hours of launching the campaign to save the slip road, hundreds of people who use the road have signed our petition calling for Highways England to rethink the plans and Newcastle City Council to object formally.
“Many people signing have expressed their disgust at the Highways England plans and I am calling on them to withdraw their plans immediately and confirm that the agreement with local residents when the A1 was constructed will be honoured.”