'Elderly residents' raise concerns about Middleton St George bridge replacement in anonymous letter (From The Advertiser Series)
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'Elderly residents' raise concerns about Middleton St George bridge replacement in anonymous letter
AN anonymous letter claiming to be from a group of elderly residents of a village due to face major upheaval with a bridge replacement project have hit out at the lack of information about the plans.
The letter from Middleton St George, signed ‘a group of oldies’, raises a number of questions about the timing and arrangements for the work to replace the vital road bridge across Dinsdale Station.
Councillor Doris Jones, one of two ward members for Middleton St George, has rejected the some of the claims in the letter and accused the letter writers of scaremongering.
Work on the engineering project, which will effectively cut the village in two for several weeks, is due to begin at the end of this month and is expected to take several months.
Motorists face diversions around the back roads to get from one side of Middleton St George to the other, while a pedestrian footbridge bridge will put in place during the work.
The letter sent to the Darlington and Stockton Times also accuses local councillors of being ‘vague’ whenever they are asked questions about how the village and its residents will manage during the work.
The residents behind the letter pose a number of questions about the decision to replace the bridge, including why the work is being done during winter and how residents are expected to access local shops and services.
Concerns were also raised about carers being able to reach elderly residents and the extra journey time facing anyone who wants to get from one side of the bridge to the other.
It ends: “The back roads are never gritted in winter, this could cause accidents.”
In response, Councillor Jones said: “There’s a lot of scaremongering going on which is totally unfounded. A lot of people were not able to get answers to some of the questions they have had but that is not necessarily Network Rail’s fault.
“The bridge replacement has got to be done and we’ve got to live with it. The back roads are always gritted because it’s a bus route.
“Myself and Steve York [the second councillor for Middleton St George] are out this week with highways officials and driving the diversion route to make sure the signage is right and the hedges are cut back.
“I’ve said time and again, if people have a genuine concern they should contact me or Steve York – if we don’t have the answers we’ll get on to Network Rail and the council. That’s our job.”
Coun Jones is planning to cover every aspect of the arrangements for the bridge replacement in the next edition of The Middleton Messenger, a monthly newsletter which goes to every house in the village.
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