Planners call for junction improvements before Alnwick scheme progresses

Plans for a new Alnwick trade park have been approved on condition that improvements are made to a busy junction.

Thursday, 30th June 2022, 4:16 pm

The application by Northumberland Estates is to build six business units with ancillary trade retail areas on undeveloped land north of Larch Drive on the Lionheart Enterprise Park.

The scheme was approved by Northumberland County Council subject to conditions and a legal agreement securing a financial contribution toward the upgrade of the A1 Alnwick / Shilbottle junction.

It follows assurances to National Highways, which manages the nearby A1, of funding and an indicative programme to develop and deliver capacity enhancements.

The Shilbottle Road junction.

Alnwick Civic Society had also expressed concern at the lack of progress on the road layout in the seven years since McDonald’s opened nearby.

In a letter to planners, Peter Reed, civic society chairman, said: “We welcome this investment in the local economy, and the employment opportunities that it will bring.

"However, we are concerned that it will also add to traffic problems at the junction of the Shilbottle road and the A1 slip road unless junction improvements are carried out.

"The traffic safety issues need to be resolved before this application is allowed to proceed."

The proposed development site.

McDonald’s was granted permission in 2014 on condition that, within 18 months of opening, a scheme would be implemented to improve the intersection of the A1 slip road and the Shilbottle Road. However, that condition was extended for traffic surveys and further discussion.

Then, in 2018, a report identified that the junction would require improvements to enable Local Plan traffic to be accommodated.

“After waiting seven years we hope the authorities can now ensure that the intersection of the A1 slip road and Shilbottle Road is improved before any further development takes place on Lionheart Enterprise Park or Cawledge Business Park,” wrote Mr Reed.

A planning document on behalf of Northumberland Estates states: ‘The project intends to create the latest phase of the Lionheart masterplan.

‘The proposal seeks to create several new, varying sized units, with a view to attracting a range of established and start-up businesses to the area.

‘The proposed buildings and site will create a new trade park allowing multiple businesses of varying size and nature of work to operate within the site.’