Light at end of tunnel for hamlet road saga

The road into Detchant which is used by HGVs.
The road into Detchant which is used by HGVs.
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An end to the long-running saga over a road in Detchant may be in sight after those involved agreed to sit down and thrash out the issues.

For months now, residents have been raising complaints on a number of points which relate to the use of the small road into the hamlet by HGVS going to Bedmax, a horse-bedding business based at Greymare Farm at the end of the road.

The subject has been raised at parish council meetings time and again with no practical solutions being offered by either side, although Bedmax has said that it is reviewing its operations.

Now, Northumberland County Council’s highways network manager Dick Phillips is taking the lead and at last Thursday’s meeting he suggested getting all the key stakeholders around the table to talk through the issues.

He said that the county council had started looking at various solutions, but it would need to be decided by the residents and businesses in Detchant.

Options being looked at include passing places or a slight change to the hedge lines – Mr Phillips confirmed that the county owns the land up to the fence lines all along the road with a couple of small exceptions – and speed limits for HGVS.

Questions had been raised as to whether the extra HGVs, a by-product of the dramatic growth of the business, which was set up in 2000 and expanded into a multimillion-pound operation, were in breach of the original planning permission.

But Mr Phillips said that as he understood it, the planning department said that there was nothing it could do.

“We tried to come up with some reasonable compromise, but we haven’t made a decision yet,” he said. “The decision has to be made by the people living in Detchant and Bedmax.

“What we are left with is some very upset residents and a firm that wants to keep going.

“We can’t shift Bedmax and we can’t put the village in a different place, so we have to have a compromise.”

The parish council’s clerk is going to liaise with the relevant parties to set up a meeting, which will be chaired by the parish council.

It was suggested that all of the different issues are provided to the county council ahead of the meeting and that people turn up with some suggestions as to how it can be resolved.