Crossing is on the move

Councillors Jonathan Brash(left) and Chris Simmons.
Councillors Jonathan Brash(left) and Chris Simmons.

A CONTROVERSIAL crossing will be moved further down a busy road in a bid to boost safety despite concerns that it will lead to congestion and parking problems.

The decision to install a puffin crossing in Blakelock Gardens, close to the Brinkburn Road junction, was originally taken by Hartlepool Borough Council in April last year to provide a safe place for people to cross.

It was also agreed to ban vehicles coming down Brinkburn Road from turning left into Blakelock Gardens.

Work started on the £45,000 scheme in December but due to the high number of complaints about the left turn ban, transport chiefs agreed to take another look at the scheme.

Officers proposed re-locating the crossing 45ft further down Blakelock Gardens, away from the junction, and to allow cars to continue turning left.

But some residents and a business objected as they felt moving the crossing would lead to congestion and parking problems.

The issue was discussed by Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves, portfolio holder for regeneration and economic development, who had two options.

Either rubber stamp the original plans and install the crossing near the junction and ban the left hand turn or move the crossing and allow cars to turn left.

A report to the meeting said: “Motorists are against the left turn ban and its implications, while residents and a local business are concerned about the effect of the crossing being re-located.”

Coun Hargreaves, who agreed to move the crossing and remove the left turn ban, said: “I genuinely do appreciate the concerns raised by both sides.

“I want you to know that this has been a very difficult decision but on balance the best option is to move the crossing so that we can maintain that left hand turn and provide a safe crossing for people that do need it.”

Labour councillor Jonathan Brash, who represents the Burn Valley ward, spoke in support of the crossing being moved.

Speaking afterwards he said: “Providing a safe place for people to cross this very busy road, especially older residents, is something I have been fighting for over the last few years and I am delighted that this is now finally going ahead.”

The crossing will be re-sited outside of The Grooming Centre, in Blakelock Gardens, which is owned by Coral Fincken.

After the meeting she told the Mail: “This will have a serious impact on me because there will be a lack of parking for my business.”

John and Carol Brown, who live in Blakelock Gardens, also wanted the original decision to stand as they feared moving the crossing would lead to congestion and parking problems outside their home.

Mr Brown said: “I don’t think the council realise how much the traffic builds up in the road.”