Villagers fight plans to close A690 accident blackspot junction

Will Render, left, with residents opposed to the closure of the A690 Newbottle junction
Will Render, left, with residents opposed to the closure of the A690 Newbottle junction
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Determined residents today told council chiefs that they won’t allow them to close a busy Wearside road junction without a fight.

Plans were revealed earlier this year to shut all right-turning traffic on the A690 road at Stoneygate, in Houghton, after the area became an accident blackspot.

Will Render, left, with residents opposed to the closure of the A690 Newbottle junction

Will Render, left, with residents opposed to the closure of the A690 Newbottle junction

The staggered cross road junction provides access to Newbottle and surrounding residential areas to the west via High Lane, while the road on the south side provides access to Warden Law and Ryhope.

But hundreds of people hit out at the proposals, saying that to close the turn-offs would increase traffic on neighbouring roads and stifle trade in nearby Newbottle Village.

Those living in Newbottle have created a Facebook group, which now has almost 650 members, to mobilise the campaign to get the council to think of an alternative strategy.

Will Render, who has run family business Newbottle Food Store for the past 18 years, is one of those against the closure plans.

I haven’t met one person in the village who wants to see the junction closed

Will Render

“I haven’t met one person in the village who wants to see the junction closed,” said Mr Render.

“Of course if you ask 100 people what their opinion is, you get 100 different answers, but most people have agreed that a traffic light system, similar to the one at Carrville in Durham, would be right.

“There’s not a lot of difference between the two and we’ve drawn up a proposal on it.

“Hopefully, the council will listen to us and solve this problem.”

SUBMITTED PIC 'Sunderland Local Election 2012''Hendon - Mordey Michael, Labour

SUBMITTED PIC 'Sunderland Local Election 2012''Hendon - Mordey Michael, Labour

Between November 2011 and October 2014 there were 11 collisions that caused personal injuries.

Those opposing the plan say it is for a number of reasons, including the possible problem that emergency service vehicles could be forced to travel through Houghton to get into Newbottle.

“Until the council decide what to do, we are in limbo,” said Mr Render.

“But if they want to close the junction, they will have a fight on their hands.

“This road is the main access route to the village of Newbottle.

“We have the deli, two pubs and Newbottle club as well as shops.

“To close the junction will put extra traffic on the other roads in the area. I really don’t think this has been thought through.”

Councillor Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for city cervices at Sunderland City Council, said: “The council has been consulting with residents and businesses around the proposed closure of the A690 Stoneygate junction.

“As with all consultation, we have welcomed all views, and this consultation closed at the end of May.

“There were several hundred responses and these are now being examined.

“In due course, a report and update will be examined at a meeting of the city’s Planning and Highways committee.”