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Plans for Barnard Castle by-pass to remove lorries from town rejected
10:52am Saturday 21st September 2013 in News
CALLS for a bypass to take heavy goods vehicles out of an historic market town centre have been rejected.
The proposal to build a relief road for Barnard Castle did not feature in the 20-year County Durham Plan which was approved by Durham County Council’s cabinet this week. (Wednesday, September 18)
Campaigners who have long called for action to ease traffic congestion, noise and pollution in the town may have to wait two decades before the idea is considered again as the county-wide master plan outlines development policies including transport infrastructure for the next 20 years.
The Teesdale Action Partnership was among those organisations that supported the proposal.
In response to consultation about the county plan, Tap said that the heavy traffic brings vibrancy and people into the town but that it also causes noise, pollution and traffic delays.
It said that many people in Barnard Castle had major concerns about the number of HGVs passing through the town, particularly when the A66 is closed.
Concerns have been voiced about the impact on Butter Market and County Bridge and there have been reports of damage caused by lorries trying to negotiate the narrow main road through the town centre.
In response to campaigners’ demands, the county council commissioned a traffic survey to be carried out.
Over a 12 hour period in April, 6,644 vehicles including 584 vans and lorries travelled around Market Cross.
If a bypass was created the number of vehicles would fall by an estimated 1,013, with 248 less goods vehicles using the route.
Dave Wafer, strategic traffic manager, said: “It is our view that the amount of vehicles does not warrant the cost involved in creating a new route for Barnard Castle and therefore a relief road was not included in the County Durham Plan.”
Coun Richard Bell, who represents Barnard Castle West, was disappointed the road did not feature in the master plan and will challenge the council’s explanation.
He said: “The other justification for it could be on economic grounds, but this would entail large scale development on the east of town to generate the funds to pay for it, which feels even more unlikely to happen.”
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