Planning consent granted for A1 dualling scheme in Northumberland

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A scheme to dual part of the A1 in Northumberland has been given planning consent by the Secretary of State.

The Government approved the A1 Morpeth to Ellingham Development Consent Order late on Friday.

The scheme will see eight miles of the A1 between Morpeth and Felton upgraded to dual carriageway as well as the construction of a new dual carriageway bypassing the existing A1 between Priests Bridge and Burgham Park.

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The old section of the A1 carriageway will be de-trunked and become a local road – meaning this section of road will be owned and maintained by Northumberland County Council.

The A1 in Northumberland. Picture: National HighwaysThe A1 in Northumberland. Picture: National Highways
The A1 in Northumberland. Picture: National Highways

A further five miles of the existing A1 will be upgraded to dual carriageway between Alnwick and Ellingham. This will be done along the existing single carriageway road.

As well as the dualling, National Highways will also construct four new compact grade separated junctions at Highlaws, Fenrother, West Moor and Charlton Mires providing safe access onto and off the A1 as well as maintaining links to the local road network.

National Highways will also build a new bridge where the A1 crosses over the River Coquet parallel to the existing bridge and a new accommodation bridge at Heckley Fence.

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Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who has campaigned for the upgrade and helped secure £293 million for the project, said: “This is fantastic news for our local communities and businesses, our emergency services and tourism.”

Leader of Northumberland County Council Glen Sanderson said: “Everyone who works, lives, or travels in our great county knows how much our main road needs dualling, but now that Conservative commitment is here and real.

“We need that safe and up-to-date spine between England and Scotland, and soon this will become a reality.”

Bamburgh councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Conservative, added: "We were expecting this announcement in June and a huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to get the sign off before government work stops for the election.

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“These big infrastructure projects are not as simple as putting tarmac on the ground. People who live next to the expanded A1 have their lives and livelihoods uprooted, so it is only right every stone is overturned investigating the impacts of the work.”

Cllr Catherine Seymour, Berwick North, Conservative, said: “Those naysayers who said it will never happen will have to choke on their words."

The timing of the announcement has, however, been called into question by other political parties.

Labour candidate David Smith, who is contesting the new North Northumberland seat against Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “This project was first promised by Anne-Marie Trevelyan and David Cameron as long ago as 2014.

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“Northumbrians can see right through this announcement for the political stunt that it is. Only the Tories would try and claim credit for a vital infrastructure project that they promised literally a decade ago and have repeatedly failed to deliver.

“This cannot go on. We need an MP and a government who will finally take the actions that prioritise the safety of all A1 road users.”

Lib Dem candidate Natalie Younes said: “It is no surprise that, as we predicted, for the fourth election running, the Conservatives are promising to dual the A1. The decision by the Secretary of State for Transport on Friday to grant development consent takes us one step closer but does not guarantee delivery. We know the Tories find it quick and easy to make promises and equally easy to drop them after an election. Their credibility is shot. Liberal Democrats will not take this for granted and will continue to campaign for this and other investment to be delivered by the new post-election government.”

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