'It's a major relief' - campaigners greet news of likely start date on Hartlepool bypass

Work on a long-awaited bypass could finally begin next spring.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 4:45 am

As well as reducing “rat run” pressures on Elwick, the village’s £18.5m bypass is also expected to reduce congestion on the nearby A19 and on Hartlepool’s A179 and A689 roads.

Outline application for permission to build the road has been submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council with construction work estimated “to last for two years from spring 2022”.

One campaigner has labelled the move as “a major relief” as “the traffic is just getting worse and worse”.

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Pictured in Elwick are, front, from left, Greatham Parish Council chair Brian Walker and Elwick Parish Council chair Hilary Thompson. Back, from left, fellow campaigners Keith Park, Minna Ireland, Lyn Noble and Barbara Irving.

The scheme, which also aims to improve safety on the A19, would run north of Elwick.

Kieran Bostock, the borough council’s assistant director for place management, said: “The submission of the planning application is itself a significant step forward towards our goal of providing much-needed additional access into and out of Hartlepool, creating a safer connection to and from the A19 and removing a significant amount of traffic from the village of Elwick.

“The application shall be considered and determined by members of the planning committee, according to planning considerations in the usual way.”

A design and access statement from JBA Consultants, in partnership with the council, states the plans would help ease traffic congestion around Hartlepool.

The £18.5m Elwick bypass could be completed in around three years.

It said: “The council recognises the significant benefits that such major infrastructure works would result in. In effect this would create a third access into Hartlepool from the A19.

“This would help to relieve pressure and congestion from the A689 and A179 and increase highway capacity through allowing residents within the area to use this access point safely.”

The near one-mile long road will run from the locally named Devil’s Elbow, in Elwick Road, to the existing A19 junction at North Lane.

Brian Walker, chair of the Hartlepool Rural Neighbourhood Plan group and of Greatham Parish Council, said: “It’s great to see some movement. It’s desperate for Elwick and Dalton Piercy to get the traffic away from the centre of the village.

“It’s a major relief, the traffic is just getting worse and worse and with more and more houses as Hartlepool expands, it’s just dreadful.”

Concerns had previously been raised by rural communities over both Dalton Piercy and Elwick villages becoming “rat runs” to and from the A19.

The borough council approved a funding strategy for the bypass three years ago.

It was agreed the scheme would be funded by a combination of external grant funding and £10.161million of borrowing, which will be repaid by developers of housing in the area.

The council also agreed to use compulsory purchase orders to secure the land needed for the development if negotiations with owners break down.

A decision on the new application is expected to be made by the council’s planning department in August.

*The northbound carriageway of the A19 between the A689 and A179 finally reopened on Tuesday morning following a three-vehicle collision at around 10am on Monday.

One driver suffered minor injuries following the incident near the OK Diner restaurant.