Bid to buy up land for new Sunderland bridge

An artist's impression of the proposed new Wear crossing.
An artist's impression of the proposed new Wear crossing.
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WORK is pressing ahead to keep alive the vision of Wearside’s new landmark bridge.

Council bosses are putting together a fresh order to secure land needed to build the new river crossing – despite the project being put on ice.

Sunderland City Council has already made provision for Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to acquire land needed to build the bridge and its approach roads if negotiations fail with landowners.

Now it is preparing the ground for another CPO for land on the south side of Pallion New Road.

Councillor Jim Blackburn, responsible for the bridge project, said some highways must be stopped-up or improved, which would impact on the land in question.

“The stopping-up of this access is required on highway safety grounds, given its proximity to the proposed new traffic signal-controlled junction, which will be installed at the key junction of the B1405 with Woodbine Terrace and European Way as part of the southern approach to the new bridge,” he said.

“Without access to Pallion New Road, the land will be of limited or little value to the land owner and the council must therefore buy it from them.

“The council must be certain that it will be able to buy all the land needed.”

Coun Blackburn was speaking at a meeting of Sunderland’s ruling cabinet.

Senior councillors on the executive committee agreed to approve the making of a CPO if the land deal cannot be negotiated otherwise.

Essential Government funding for the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC) – which includes the bridge and its approach roads – is caught up in the Coalition Government’s review of transport spending.

The bridge team at Sunderland City Council must wait to see if Ministers feel the project is worthy of the original £98million earmarked for the scheme.

@pressbench