Concerns at road closure decision

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A COUNCILLOR has voiced his concerns over a controversial decision to close a road.

Hartlepool councillor Rob Cook says the closure of Falcon Road, at the Throston Grange Lane junction, in Hartlepool, will have a massive impact on other roads in the area.

Coun Cook, who is the Labour representative for the Hart ward, said he is disappointed by the decision to close the road after a consultation found people were overwhelmingly in favour of keeping it open.

The consultation saw 527 households give their view, with 475 in favour of keeping the road open and the others in favour of some sort of closure.

Senior councillors voted to close Falcon Road, in Hartlepool, because of the “adverse impact” it was having on the lives of the people living in the street.

The closure, which could take up to six months once legal notices have been advertised, is expected to cost about £5,000 and will see residents having to use Hart Lane to travel to and from the town centre.

Labour councillors Jonathan Brash, Chris Simmons, Pamela Hargreaves and Peter Jackson and independent councillor Cath Hill voted in favour of closing the road.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond and Labour councillor Ged Hall voted against it.

Councillor Cook, who represents the Hart ward on the council, said: “I am really disappointed with cabinet’s decision and I must say it came as a big shock given the overwhelming public support to keep the road open.

“During the latest consultation 475 residents were in favour of keeping Falcon Road open out of the 527 respondents and I am struggling to grasp how such an overwhelming show of support can be ignored.

“I don’t think the impact of this decision has been fully thought through as there is no doubt that it will place a huge burden on other roads serving the Bishop Cuthbert area, particularly Hart Lane.

“I am also really concerned about the effect the closure is going to have on the emergency services. Every minute is vital when the fire brigade, ambulance service and police are attending incidents and the extra time it is going to take them could be the difference between life and death.”

The busy road has been a long running bone of contention among residents in the Bishop Cuthbert area for several years.

The councillors had five options, which were to keep the road open, to close it at Throston Grange Lane, and three options which included road closures at junctions that lead to Falcon Road.

A council spokesman said: “The issue of whether Falcon Road was closed or remained open polarised public opinion over a lengthy period of time.

“However, when this matter was discussed recently by members of the council’s cabinet there was a majority in favour of closure.”