Delays with A1 dualling plans in Northumberland prompt change of approach from Highways England

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Detailed plans for the dualling of the A1 in Northumberland will be submitted following further public consultation.

Highways England had planned to submit separate proposals for the Morpeth to Felton section and the Alnwick to Ellingham section.

However, due to delays it will now submit a single Development Consent Order – the equivalent of a planning application for major infrastructure projects – for the entire Morpeth to Ellingham project.

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A spokesperson for Highways England said: “We had originally planned to submit two separate DCOs: one for the Morpeth to Felton section and one for the Alnwick to Ellingham section.

“This was because there was going to be a significant time difference between the construction of the two sections.

“Due to delays with our work on the Morpeth to Felton section, we are now able to submit just one DCO application.

“Combining the two DCOs into one has a number of benefits and means that if people wish to make a comment on the proposals, they only need to comment on one application.

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“Before we can submit our application for the DCO we will shortly be carrying out the required public consultation. This consultation will give people the opportunity to comment on the proposals contained within the DCO.”

The arrangements made for this consultation will be prepared in light of Government advice about public health risk during the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak and materials will be available online.

For the Morpeth to Felton stretch, around half of the new dual carriageway is to be built offline to the west of the current road, while the Alnwick to Ellingham section will all be built online, expanding the existing A1 to the east.

The bids will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and a planning inspector will be appointed with a statutory duty to conclude the examination part of the DCO process within six months.

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It was December 1, 2014, when the then Prime Minister David Cameron announed £290million for the scheme, which also includes other improvements north of Ellingham.

Dualling work is due to start in 2021 with completion in 2023.

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