Plans for ‘Retail Park Relief Road’ to be entered in September

The plans were discussed at a meeting this week.
The plans were discussed at a meeting this week.

Plans for a new road to cut journey times for shoppers and workers could be submitted in September – but the project still needs about £500,000 before building can start.

Highways officers at Durham County Council (DCC) have been working on plans for a ‘Retail Park Relief Road’ to ease congestion around retail parks in Gilesgate.

A separate planning application will be entered.

A separate planning application will be entered.

At a meeting of the council’s Area Planning Committee (Central and East) yesterday, permission was granted for discount stores Lidl and the Range to open opposite Tesco Extra, in Dragon Lane.

Panel members raised concerns about extra traffic in the area, but were reassured that a scheme was in the pipeline to address this.

John Mcgargill, the council’s highway development manager, said: “We’ve secured funding for a link road from the capital pot, but at the time we secured that pot an estimate for how much that road will cost hadn’t been put together.

“We feel we’re about £500,000 short and it’s only fair for developers to contribute to the shortfall.”

Planning committee members agreed to a condition on the supermarket plans requiring the developer to provide £175,000 towards the Retail Park Relief Road.

The new road could also help ease pollution problems in the area, which got so bad in 2011 an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) was declared in Durham and extended in 2016.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Mr Mcgargill said: “This will result in increased traffic demand on the local road network, and we are therefore seeking a financial contribution from developers to fund a link road to offset this.

“The link road will travel parallel to Dragon Lane, linking McIntyre Way to Damson Way via Renny’s Lane and will also require an improved traffic signal junction at the Damson Way/A181 junction.

“A separate planning application for this road will be submitted in due course.”

James Harrison

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service