Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anger as A1 Issue Threatens Homes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anger as A1 Issue Threatens Homes

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ross Smith

The Government was last night told to "decide what it wants" after its road bosses warned the A1 may not cope with new homes backed by a separate Whitehall department.

The Highways Agency ( which manages trunk roads for Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander ( has tabled a string of concerns over multi-million pound plans for Newcastle's West End because they may put extra cars on the Western bypass.

But there was anger last night that they could stall a project which was developed through the Pathfinder housing programme championed by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly.

Newcastle councillor Greg Stone, who played a leading role in designing the scheme, said: "The Highways Agency is failing to deliver joined up government."

It echoes similar objections to the Walker Riverside housing schemes in the East End of the city, and a series of blocks on business developments highlighted by The Journal and North East Chamber of Commerce through the Go For Jobs campaign.

The city council is planning the massive redevelopment in an effort to encourage people back to Scotswood and Benwell ( an area that has suffered severe population decline and seen hundreds of homes demolished in recent years.

It includes plans for 2,100 homes by 2021, kick-started by an "Expo" in 2010 showcasing latest house design, around the junction of Armstrong Road and Whitehouse Road.

But in response to the plans, the Highways Agency said: "The Agency would need to be consulted to ensure that the residential developments required to support such population increases can be satisfactorily accommodated within the transport infrastructure, particularly the A1." On the Expo itself, it said: "The Agency would have concerns in relation to the potential impact of the... development upon the A1."

The agency has submitted a 19-page document which included a prediction of how many people from each individual block of housing proposed in the plan would travel on the A1 at rush hour. …

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