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Thursday, 28 May 2015

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Road closed – and it will stay that way for 7 months

A BUSY B-road in Stocksfield could remain closed for at least the next seven months because of a landslip.

Northumberland county councillor Anne Dale (left) and Broomley and Stocksfield Parish Council chairman Coun. Maggi Hunt survey the damage to the road behind Stocksfield Railway Station.

Highways officials from Northumberland County Council have back-tracked on original estimates that the B6309 behind Stocksfield Railway Station would be re-opened by the end of the month.

Instead, preliminary investigations have revealed a significant amount of work will be needed to re-instate the road surface – much of which has slid down an embankment into the Guess Burn – and that could mean the road won't re-open before the end of July.

The news has scuppered plans by the Northumberland County Show to use the route as one of its major access points into the showfield at Bywell on Bank Holiday Monday, May 27.

And moves to lay on shuttle buses from the railway station to the ground to transport the thousands of visitors who attend the event by train, have also been scrapped.

Just before Christmas, traffic lights had to be installed along the route when a crack appeared on the south-bound side of the carriageway.

But despite a number of temporary repairs, the road surface continued to deteriorate, with the damage spreading across much of the north-bound carriageway.

The road was closed on Tuesday, January 8 and this week concrete road blocks were installed to stop drivers driving through the temporary barriers.

Northumberland County Show secretary Gaynor Scandle said the road closure was a set-back, but added: “We are in the fortunate position of having lots of options for traffic flow.

“Although the show is several months away, the committee has been proactively seeking alternative routes.

“We made the decision to move location this year as the new site is served by at least three major access roads, as well as being close to the train station and main bus routes.”

Mrs Scandle said she would be meeting all the agencies involved, including the county council, the Environment Agency, the parish council, A69 Roadlink, Northumbria Police’s traffic division and Hexham's MP Guy Opperman, in an effort to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

The road closure means residents living in Stocksfield and Bywell are also facing months of lengthy detours.

School buses taking children to Ovingham Middle School are having to travel to Riding Mill’s Broomhaugh roundabout, on to the A68 and A69 each day, while the hundreds of staff who work at the businesses based at Stocksfield Hall are also affected.

Chairman of Broomley and Stocksfield Parish Council, Coun. Maggi Hunt, said: “It may be a B-road but this is a very busy route which offers a direct connection to the A69.

“It might not appear much in the grand scheme of things, but a long-term closure of this road will have a massive impact on everyone in this parish.”

County councillor for the area, Coun. Anne Dale, said: “I have major concerns about when the funding will be found to carry out the repair work.

“This closure has an impact on so many things that if I have to take this all the way to the council’s chief executive, I will.”

l Another landslide in Wylam has forced the closure of the U8210 Thornton House back lane to Hagg Bank. This road will be closed until at least Friday, January 25.