New link road planned to improve traffic flow into Durham's Dragonville Industrial Estate

Plans for a new link road to improve traffic flows in the Dragonville area have been given the green light.

Saturday, 13th July 2019, 6:00 am
A Google satellite view of the area in question

Durham County Council’s area Planning Committee considered proposals from its own officers for new sections of highway at a meeting on July 9.

This included a new road between Renny’s Lane and Damson Way on Dragonville Industrial Estate.

When completed, the plans will create a secondary route for traffic using the estate and include demolishing an existing garage and building a new retail unit.

To the south, a signalised junction will also be built between the A181 Sherburn Road and Damson Way.

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This includes new acoustic fencing close to existing housing and diverting the road through a previously-planted section of trees.

Council officers stressed access for vehicles will be maintained for residents of Booths Buildings and Coronation Terrace with the existing junction sealed-off to create a cul de sac.

During consultation however, Belmont Parish Council called for the signalised junction to be refused.

Coun Barbara Howarth, speaking at the meeting at Durham County Hall, said the existing junction should be upgraded rather than creating a new junction and felling trees.

Other concerns from neighbours included the link road and new junction creating a “rat run” and large queues of traffic.

While City of Durham Trust (CDT) raised concerns about the link road diverting a national cycle route onto Damson Way, breaching council plans around sustainable travel and cycling.

This included “substandard” foot ways on the new link road for shared use by pedestrians and cyclists.

He claimed the designs put motorists first at the expense of cycle provision and called for the decisions to be deferred to allow for revised plans.

However, highways officers confirmed they had looked at various options for cycle facilities but said current designs were the best option for allowing the “free-flow of traffic.”

While queues of up to 10 vehicles are expected in 2029 leading up to the new junction, highways bosses said they could be controlled in real time.

Council environmental officers added that the tree belt near the signalised junction offered little to no noise reduction benefits.

Following discussion, the committee passed the plans with a majority vote.