Northumberland residents urged to write to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps with calls for A1 dualling

Northumberland residents have been urged to contact the Transport Secretary with calls for the urgent dualling of the A1.

Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 3:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:28 pm

The appeal has been made by Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson who has already penned a letter to Grant Shapps following the latest six month delay on a dualling decision.

In his letter, Cllr Renner-Thompson, Bamburgh ward member on Northumberland County Council, states: ‘I am writing to you to convey my utter dismay at the announcement that the decision on dualling the A1 between Morpeth and Ellingham has been delayed by another six months.

‘The upgrade of this road, which is supposed to be the Great North Road between London and Edinburgh, is desperately needed.

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The A1 between Morpeth and Alnwick.

‘The residents I represent see daily the dangerous conditions on the road as a three-lane motorway at Newcastle degrades to a single lane track north of Morpeth.

‘Cars, HGVs, and farm vehicles compete for space on the road which leads to impatient drivers and unsafe overtaking.’

He also raises the economic benefits that dualling would bring, slashing commuting times from north Northumberland into Newcastle by as much as 20 minutes.

‘Not only would this boost the economy, but it would also make living here much safer,’ he writes.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson.

‘Ambulance response times in the north are not good enough and this is partially due to this road. The nearest A&E is 45 miles away. The extra time is the difference between life and death.

‘I do not see the logic in delaying a costed, shovel ready project based on the 'Union Connectivity Review' and looking at multi-modal transport. Yes, The A1 needs to be dualled north of Ellingham to Edinburgh and we need more stations on the East Coast Main Line. The first stage of that is ready to go, let's get on with it.

‘The Government have been promising this upgrade since Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP secured the funding in 2015.

‘If it does not go ahead, it will shatter all confidence the public has in our Government and the whole 'levelling up' agenda.’

The proposed development comprises the dualling of a nine-mile stretch between Morpeth and Felton and a four-mile section between Alnwick and Ellingham.

A decision on the Development Consent Order required for the scheme to progress is now expected on December 5.

The delay follows the publication of Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review.

Mr Shapps previously said: “Several of the Union Connectivity Review recommendations concern ongoing projects, which may be impacted by the Union Connectivity Review response.

"The A1 Morpeth to Ellingham scheme is one such case, as it relates to Sir Peter’s recommendation for a multimodal study of the East Coast Corridor to identify the best opportunities for improvement.

"We therefore propose to consider how best to align the future progression of the scheme with our consideration of this recommendation and the outcome of any study that may be proposed.”

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has expressed disappointment at the decision but hopes there will be longer term gain if it leads to full dualling to the Scottish border.

The Transport Secretary had already delayed a final decision from January to June to allow for further consideration of environmental matters.

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