The Darlington Northern Link Road first started life as the
Darlington Northern Bypass and was put forward as a proposal by the Tees Valley
Combined Authority in association with Darlington Borough Council to accommodate
strategic traffic movements between the A1(M) and the Tees Valley.
The proposal would help to alleviate the current stress on the
A1150 and A167 due to strategic traffic currently having to predominantly use
these roads to access the A1 from Teesside.
Initially 2 routes were proposed – Route A which gave access close
to Brafferton and Route B which passed through Skerningham.
Both routes were met with opposition. The ‘Say No to the Darlington
Link Road’ (who were against both routes) and the ‘Barmpton & Skerningham Action
Group’ (who were against route B only) were formed to oppose the proposal.
At the time the Northern Echo conducted their own online poll
regarding the proposals for the road (the only one to have been conducted to
date) the results of which are shown below. It resulted in an overwhelming 66%
which said that neither option was preferred.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority subsequently took the decision that Route A
was the preferred option. This came as no great surprise as the ‘A66 & A689 Tees Valley
Strategic Study Stage 0.2 Report: Option Assessment’ published in September 2016 suggested
that option 3.1 (which is virtually the same as Route A) was the better option as it had the
potential to create a more appropriate amount of development land and was consequently
modelled in the report.
The original Route A has now changed due to ground constraints with 3 options
for Route A.
The Link Road was initially to be a dual carriageway at an approximate cost of
£450m; however, it was highly unlikely that funding for this would be available so this has
now reduced to a single carriageway with the cost decreasing dramatically. It is also hoped
that if the Darlington local Plan is approved and the Skerningham Garden Village Development
proceeds then more funding from different sources will be available to fund the road. In
essence, if the Skerningham Garden Village does not proceed then it is highly likely that
the Link Road will not proceed either.
At present the Tees Valley Combined Authority is consulting on its Strategic
Transport Strategy which includes the Darlington Northern Link Road but, given that this
road has already received funding for an Enhanced Strategic Outline Business Case to be
prepared it is highly unlikely that it will be removed from the strategy.
At the moment this proposal is on hold to await the outcome of the Local Plan
before it can finalise how the road is to be funded.
Whinfield Residents Association will keep you updated on its progress.