Victory for people-power as ‘noisy and dangerous’ Washington road is closed

Residents of Albany Village, Washington, happy to see Brandy Lane the road through the centre of the village closed to all traffic. Left to right; Brian Lodge, Dawn Binney with her son Kai,, Karen Ross and Evelyn McNaughton.
Residents of Albany Village, Washington, happy to see Brandy Lane the road through the centre of the village closed to all traffic. Left to right; Brian Lodge, Dawn Binney with her son Kai,, Karen Ross and Evelyn McNaughton.
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RESIDENTS are celebrating after winning their long-running battle to close a “noisy and dangerous” road.

Neighbours in Albany Village, Washington, launched a petition after traffic restrictions in Brandy Lane were removed in January last year, as part of an 18-month pilot scheme.

They feared lives would be put at risk, particularly youngsters walking to and from a nearby school, if the bus-only road through their village was permanently opened up to all vehicles.

Now, 23 months since the start of their battle, the campaigners are delighted after traffic chiefs at Sunderland Council decided to close the link road completely.

Brian Lodge, who helped spearhead the protest, said: “We’re pleased the council has listened to residents and they have closed the road to all traffic.

“It’s great to see the barriers going up.

“Hopefully, it will bring peace back to the village.

“It’s what we’ve been fighting for the past two years.”

Mr Lodge said that when Albany Village was planned in the 1970s it was intended to be “pedestrian friendly,” with a ring road to divert traffic and a route for scheduled buses only.

“The road was regularly abused by motorists, even when it was supposed to be used only by buses,” added the 69-year-old.

“You would get taxis and other cars using it. There were a lot of safety concerns about it, particularly with heavier vehicles using the route.

“It could be very noisy and dangerous at times and there have been accidents.

“When we heard there was a chance it was going to be opened up to all traffic, we feared the worst.

“But the closure shouldn’t make too much of a difference to drivers.

“There are three other routes around the village.”

Les Clark, head of Street Scene at Sunderland Council, said the decision to close the road was taken after full consultation with residents.

“Based on residents’ road safety concerns and the alternative routes available, we have taken the decision to close Brandy Lane to traffic.

“The decision has only been taken after examining all possible traffic options and taking the views of residents, motorists and pedestrians into account.

“Bollards will be placed across the road to prevent vehicular access with alternative routes through Albany Village clearly sign-posted.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho