A group developing its own planning blueprint for rural Hartlepool says a new bypass could help protect villages.
The Mail reported this week how one of the key elements of Hartlepool Borough Council’s proposed new Local Plan is a bypass on the A19 north of Elwick.
As the town grows and traffic increases the rural communities sufferBrian Walker, chair of Hartlepool Rural Plan Working Group
The council has submitted a bid for £18m of Local Growth funding.
A separate Hartlepool Rural Neighbourhood Plan is also being developed by the Hartlepool’s villages to steer future developments over the next 15 years.
Brian Walker, chair of Hartlepool Rural Plan Working Group, said: “Most of the rural area and all its villages lie between Hartlepool and the A19 therefore as the town grows and traffic increases the rural communities suffer.
“The Hartlepool Rural Neighbourhood Plan seeks to highlight this and, while wanting to ensure road linkages through the area to the A19 are improved for everyone’s benefit, any significant impacts arising from an increase in traffic need to be addressed.
“Another village bypass may well fit the bill.”
Hartlepool council says major improvements are needed to the road network around Elwick if a 1,200 home development at High Tunstall on the outskirts of town goes ahead.
It would also relieve pressure on the two main routes into Hartlepool of the A689 and Hart bypass.
The Hartlepool Rural Plan has developed its draft plan using powers under the 2011 Localism Act to help local communities influence development on their doorstep.
It incorporates Dalton Piercy, Elwick, Greatham and Hart and Newton Bewley villages.
Mr Walker said it is important that traffic from new developments is diverted away from villages with measures put in place before building work starts.
He added: “Greatham and Hart are both bypassed, which raises its own concerns, hence improvements to the junctions from the villages are raised.
“Elwick and Dalton Piercy both lie on what may be described as rural lanes. Within living memory so was Newton Bewley, now cut in half by the dual carriageway and plagued by speeding traffic.
“This is something no community wishes to repeat.
“As well as wanting to discourage traffic from new developments using minor roads through the villages the neighbourhood plan suggests sympathetic traffic calming and other measures should be part of any application.
“In some instances measures should be put in place prior to the occupation of the first dwelling on the relevant proposal.
“Let’s not wait until a village is ruined before addressing obvious problems.”