House builder denied permission to use 'dangerous road' in Seaham to access construction site

House builders have been denied permission to use a ‘dangerous road’ to access a construction site.
The decision was made by Durham County Council.The decision was made by Durham County Council.
The decision was made by Durham County Council.

Bellway Homes currently uses a route through Dalton Heights, in Seaham, for its workers to reach land it is developing south of the estate.

But despite the recommendations of planning experts and concerns for air quality access for emergency services, bosses at Durham County Council (DCC) refused to grant temporary permission for vehicles to access the site directly from the B1285.

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“The B1285 is a busy, dangerous road and traffic on it has increased exponentially,” said Coun Eddie Bell, who represents the council’s Deneside ward, which includes Dalton Heights.

“I was a police officer for 30 years, most of that time on traffic patrol, and I was often going to the B1285 and scraping people off the ground because of traffic accidents.

“This hasn’t changed, it is a dangerous road.

“For two and a half years they’ve talked about this development, not a few weeks, two and a half years – that doesn’t sound very temporary to me.”

Coun Bell was speaking at a meeting of DCC’s Central and East Area Planning Committee.

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According to a report prepared for the panel, the council rejected an application to build 75 homes on the site, which is between the A19 and the B1285, in June 2016, but a year later that decision was overturned on appeal by a government planning inspector.

Building work has since started, but Bellway applied in April to have its access changed from the current arrangement to a ‘left [turn] in, left [turn] out’ arrangement in an attempt to ease congestion.

Frances Nicholson, a planning manager at the firm, told the meeting: “We’ve tried to work with residents and we’re trying to come up with a better solution for them – neither [entrances] are ideal, but we believe this is a better solution.”

DCC’s planning department agreed and recommended the proposals, which received 10 letters of support, be accepted.

But seven of the panel’s 10 members disagreed and instead sided with the 27 members of the public who sent in formal objections to reject the application.