Plans for new £25m Hartlepool bypass are approved and will lead to 'improved quality of life'

Plans for a long-awaited new access road into Hartlepool have been approved.
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Proposals were submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council last year for the construction of a new “grade separated” junction linked to the A19.

The Hartlepool Western Link project, previously known as the Elwick bypass, features the erection of a circular ramped slip road, a bridge and a new highway north of Elwick Village connecting to existing routes.

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The plans from council officers state the near mile-long road, running from the locally named Devil’s Elbow, in Elwick Road, to the existing A19 junction at North Lane, will bring “significant benefits”.

Plans for a new £25m Hartlepool relief road via Elwick have been approved.Plans for a new £25m Hartlepool relief road via Elwick have been approved.
Plans for a new £25m Hartlepool relief road via Elwick have been approved.

This includes providing a “safe and effective third main access point from the A19 into and out of Hartlepool”.

The application was approved by eight votes to two at the latest meeting of the council’s planning committee.

Kieran Campbell, senior planning officer, said: “It will assist in enabling the local authority to meet its housing needs whilst also providing improved quality of life within the village of Elwick by reducing traffic through the village.”

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He added the scheme, which is estimated to cost around £25m, will also ease congestion on the A689 and A179.

Twenty-six objections were submitted by residents to the plans, which included worries around how the proposals stop access to and from the A19 via Church Bank.

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Speaking at the meeting, Andrea Downing, from Sheraton Design and Build, said the closure would have a “negative impact on businesses” and force large delivery vehicles to navigate narrow and weight restricted roads and go through the village of Elwick to join the A19.

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Ms Downing said: “I just don’t see how businesses are going to be viable once you close that access.”

Planning reports noted that, while the closures will have “adverse impacts”, they are “considered not to be critical” and are “outweighed” by the scheme’s benefits.

No timescale was given for when work will commence although officers stated it would take “months, to potentially a year” to fulfil conditions linked to the application and finalise the detailed design process.

They added the approval means the council can now push forward with compulsory purchase orders to acquire the land needed and they aim to get on site “as soon as possible.”