Council calls for full dualling of A1 in Northumberland and reopening of Belford station

A rural parish council has made renewed calls for the dualling of the A1 and better rail links in north Northumberland.

Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 7:00 am

Belford Parish Council has stressed the importance of improved transport links in its consultation response to the Government’s Union Connectivity Review.

It wants a 25-mile section of the A1 between Ellingham and the Scottish border to be dualled and a new train station to be built at Belford.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, parish council chairman and local county councillor, said: “The A1 dualling south of Brownieside is happening. The diggers should be in next year.

The A1 at Beal and Belford station.

"So this is all about dualling from Brownieside to the border and (Prime Minister) Boris (Johnson), I have it on good authority, is very keen for that to happen ASAP. He wants big infrastructure projects and connectivity between England and Scotland and so on.

“We also want the new train station at Belford. We want more trains on the East Coast Main Line. It’s something we’ve wanted for decades.”

Cllr Julian Cunningham agreed: “To me that’s a real no-brainer. If we want to improve connectivity for people in employment – and we know jobs are going to be harder to come by – but also for young people from our village and around attending higher or further education then we should be pushing for the dualling of the A1 but also improving our railway infrastructure.

“I’d really like to see something done about the appalling train service we have locally which is one train a day from Chathill to Newcastle.”

The single carriageway A1 at Beal, near Holy Island.

Cllr Renner-Thompson agreed: “I’ve also argued for a long time that Chathill isn’t best placed for getting the train whereas at Belford you’re right next to the A1. It would be ideal.

“Northumberland County Council are well behind a new train station at Belford.

"It would be so positive, not just for Belford, but in having connections to Wooler, Bamburgh and Seahouses.”

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has also urged key stakeholders to have their say on the review, which closes to submissions on December 30.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson at Belford station.

She said: “The voices of Northumberland need to be heard in this important piece of work.”

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