A19 safety fears halt plans for 1,600 new homes in Hartlepool

The Southerly Elwick junction with the A19 looking North.
The Southerly Elwick junction with the A19 looking North.

National road chiefs have advised Hartlepool council not to allow any new development near Elwick village until A19 junction safety concerns have been solved.

Highways England issued the formal advice to Hartlepool Borough Council concerning the north and south Elwick junctions and one at Dalton Piercy.

There have been numerous serious road accidents - including fatalities - at the junctions over the years and there are plans for more than 1,600 new homes in the area.

The council is proposing to create an £18million bypass north of Elwick with new raised junctions as part of its new Local Plan.

A Highways England spokesperson said: “In April 2016 we advised Hartlepool Borough Council of our opinion that it would be unsafe to allow any further developments impacting on three junctions on the A19 near Elwick to go ahead before improvements at this location are put in place.

“We are working with Hartlepool Borough Council and the Combined Authority to develop proposals that will address the safety concerns relating to right hand turns and queuing traffic on the A19.”

Council planning officer Andrew Carter told the last meeting of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee that the Highways Agency had put a ‘holding directive’ on any new development in the area.

He said there had been widespread support for an Elwick bypass during consultation of the council’s Local Plan preferred options.

The council has applied to the Local Enterprise Partnership for £18 million of Local Growth Fund money for the bypass.

Most of the money is expected to be repaid by the housing developers over time.

Plans for three separate housing developments off Elwick Road near High Tunstall are currently pending a decision by the council.

The largest is for 1,200 homes on land south of Elwick Road while another is phase two of a Quarry Farm development by Cecil M Yuill Ltd for 220 homes on land between Elwick Road and Worset Lane.

And Story Homes has submitted proposals to build 153 new homes, also on land south of Elwick Road, as part of a hybrid planning application for up to 208 homes.

The developer says it will make an important contribution to the district’s housing supply and bring a number of benefits to the local community, including public open space and improved pedestrian and cycle links.

Bellway Homes are currently progressing with Elwick Rise, an 80-home development, also off Elwick Road near High Tunstall, behind the Naisberry Park housing estate.

Planning agents for the proposed 1,200 new homes development at High Tunstall say they have been working for a long time with the council and Highways England to come up with a package of road safety improvements.

Prism Planning said the A19 junctions have long been recognised as an issue regardless of any new housing plans.

Regarding an Elwick bypass managing director Steve Barker said: “This is clearly an ideal long term solution and the developers of housing schemes including our own, expect to contribute towards the costs of doing this. Other measures are also being looked at.

Such schemes do not appear overnight and can involve long and complex negotiations with local landowners, different highway authorities and local police forces, as well more than one developer.

“The A19 is a vitally important road for local people and businesses and at any one time consideration is being given to a range of schemes across Teesside that might help unlock land for new homes and jobs.”

He said a package of measures will likely come from a number of public and private sources adding: “What matters is that the final scheme provides a safe highway system for local residents at a cost that is affordable to the developer so that much needed housing can be provided for the town.

“Highways England normally respond to consultations on proposed strategic developments by telling councils not to approve them until a final highway scheme has been discussed and agreed.”