New bypass planned to 'vastly improve' highway network in popular area of Northumberland

Plans to build a bypass to improve the quality of life in a Northumberland village have been lodged.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 9:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 12:44 am
The eastbound approach to Denwick on the B1340.

Northumberland Estates is proposing a bypass to the north of Denwick village, just outside Alnwick, along with seven residential dwellings.

The B1340 currently runs through the heart of the village, including a tight bend, and is one of the main routes from Alnwick and the A1 towards the coast as well as route for heavy lorries to and from nearby quarries at Longhoughton and Howick.

Guy Munden, development planner with Northumberland Estates, said: “The historic village of Denwick possesses a number of Grade II Listed buildings such as the estate cottages and historic features including the war memorial, stone pants and a unique chapel as well as community assets such as the village hall.

The proposed housing development in Denwick.

“The main aim of this proposal is to not only preserve the fabric of the village itself, but also deal with the increasing volume of traffic now passing through it on a daily basis.

“Located as it is beside a major junction with the A1, Denwick has found itself on one of the main tourist routes to popular coastal destinations such as Howick, Craster and Newton by the Sea.

“It also lies in close proximity to the working quarries of Longhoughton and Howick, resulting in over 100 HGV vehicles using the small and winding road through the village on a daily basis. The proposed bypass would provide a quicker and more importantly, a safer route for this traffic travelling both to and from the A1.

“We also see the proposal as providing a unique opportunity to create additional housing in this rural village which otherwise has limited options for development being constrained as it is by its location. We are therefore looking to include a small extension of seven new houses.

A lorry on the B1340 Denwick to Longhoughton road. Picture by Jane Coltman

“Much work has gone into designing these to complement the existing housing and to fit with the village’s historic fabric. Construction would be based upon the architectural detail of Denwick and using local materials.

“The proposed new route will start at the Denwick exit from the A1, passing to the north of the village and rejoin the B1340 before the road going to Ratcheugh and Lesbury. This route has been carefully selected so as not to impact on existing properties in Denwick.”

A report by Northumberland Estates, which owns the whole of Denwick, also states: ‘The proposed bypass will vastly improve the highway network in this area, given the ongoing extraction from Longhoughton and Howick quarries, as well as the future dualling of the A1 being a factor in increased demand for hardstone, thus further increasing vehicle movements in this area over the coming years.’

The development site is bound to the north by agricultural land and the Denwick Burn; to the south by allotments, outbuildings and estate cottages fronting onto the B1340 and the B1340 itself.

The new road would connect with the B1340 to the south west and north east and includes a new junction with the road leading into the village from the north and one with the private road leading to Goldenmoor Farm to the north.

Housing for affordable rent for estate workers is proposed at the western end of the village and comprises a pair of two-bedroom bungalows, four two-bedroom houses and one three-bedroom house.

‘The unlocking of this area of land for residential development is a significant opportunity to provide new and sustainable development in Denwick, which otherwise would not come forward given the existing constraints such as the restricted access from the existing highway,’ state Northumberland Estates.

‘Reconfiguring the highway network and reducing traffic flows in the village would enable new residential dwellings to come forward, which would greatly add to the social sustainability of Denwick which would otherwise not be forthcoming.’

A report submitted by JDDK Architects, on behalf of Northumberland Estates, adds: ‘The proposed dwellings are designed to fit seamlessly into the existing village street scene.’

The new houses would have long front gardens and surround a shared orchard garden bounded with a low stone wall, designed to promote social interaction and informal play.

The land between the new housing development and the new bypass would be planted with native tree and shrub structure planting to screen the road and traffic movement from the new properties.

Where the existing road is to be stopped up at the western end of the village, the former carriageway would be seeded, so as to maintain a vista into the village for those travelling east along the new road.