Decision due on ‘rat run’

Falcon Road
Falcon Road

THE future of a controversial road dubbed a “rat run” by some residents could finally be decided next week.

Falcon Road, off Throston Grange Lane, in Hartlepool, has been a long running bone of contention among residents in the area for several years.

Residents living in the road say it should be closed so it cannot be used as a short-cut through the Bishop Cuthbert Estate.

But other homeowners on the estate say the road is vital for access and it would be “irresponsible” to close it.

Senior councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet committee, chaired by town mayor Stuart Drummond, are due to meet on Monday to discuss five options.

It comes after transport chiefs launched a major consultation earlier this summer with letters hand delivered to thousands of residents on the Middle Warren and Bishop Cuthbert estates.

The options were:

1) Keep the road open;

2) Close it at Throston Grange Lane;

3) Road closures at Falcon Road/Moorhen Road and Merlin Way/Lapwing Road junctions;

4) Close at Merlin Way junctions with Lapwing Road, Moorhen Road and Goshawk Road;

5) As option 4, but leave Goshawk Road open.

In total, 527 households responded with 475 in favour of keeping the road open.

Option two was supported by 19 households, 12 were in favour of option three, four wanted option four, five households wanted option five, while 12 wanted a closure but had no preference.

In total, 52 people were in favour of some sort of closure.

A report by Alastair Smith, the council’s assistant director (transportation and engineering), said: “The results show an overwhelming response in favour of keeping the road open, with 90 per cent of the forms returned indicating this preference.

“Closing the road would inevitably see a large number of formal objections to the legal advertising notice which would be required.

“Option one obviously has no cost implication.

“Based on an average estimated cost of £5,000 per closure, this gives figures of £5,000 for option two, £10,000 for options three and five, and £15,000 for option four.”

The issue dates back to 2006 when residents of Falcon Road first tried to close the road.

But a consultation exercise found that a “significant majority” wanted it to remain open.

The cabinet did agree to close Falcon Road at its junction with Throston Grange Lane in June 2008, but that never happened.

Instead other measures were introduced including a HGV ban, restricting council vehicles from using the road and temporary speed bumps in Merlin Way.

Other traffic calming measures were also put in place in Falcon Road, Moorhen Road and Lapwing Road.

Recent traffic surveys show a slight increase in the volume of traffic using Falcon Road over the years, along with the number of vehicles cutting through the estate.

The cabinet committee is due to meet on Monday, September 19, at 9.15am in the council chamber.