Road could prove a limit to businesses

The road into Detchant which is used by HGVs.
The road into Detchant which is used by HGVs.
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Concerns have been raised about the inadequacies of a road in a small hamlet, which leads up to the sites of two major employers.

At last Thursday’s meeting of Belford Parish Council, a number of issues were raised surrounding the condition of the road in Detchant, along with its inadequacy for taking larger vehicles, which now use it to access businesses.

Both Bedmax and Sunnyhills are located in the area, meaning the road is used by a number of cars, HGVs and agricultural vehicles.

Vice-chairman Coun Brenda Stanton, who lives in Detchant, told the meeting that residents had also raised issues such as the narrowness, which means cars often have to reverse to let lorries pass, road safety, noise and the possibility of damage to properties.

Bob Thorne, Northumberland County Council’s north area maintenance manager, explained that the road networks in places such as Detchant had been laid down more than 100 years ago, and the cost of upgrade is often prohibitively high.

He did suggest the possibility of constructing passing places, which would allow traffic to get past without having to pull onto the soft verges.

Coun Geoff O’Connell said: “What I’m concerned about is having two highly-successful growing businesses in this area, which are major employers.

“Is there nothing which can recognise Northumberland’s willingness to grow businesses?

“I would have thought there would be encouragement for businesses, particularly in the rural areas.”

Chris Leyland, of Bedmax, said the main problem was the section of road from Detchant to the A1, and added that in the past his business had offered funding towards passing places, and would possibly be prepared to do so again.

Brenda Jackson, of Sunnyhills, claimed that the problems with the road were affecting their livelihoods.

“We feel there’s been a major intensification of traffic over the last few years which is affecting our lives and everyone in the village,” she said.

She added that the large wagons are damaging the drainage under the road, causing flooding issues in the fields.

Members agreed to write to the the county council to try to push for the installation of passing places in next year’s Local Transport Plan, as well as contacting Arch, the county’s development company.