Plans for two new bypasses to be built through Durham have been thrown out by an appointed Planning Inspector, partly as a result of opposition from residents, who have campaigned against the roads since 2011.
Members of Durham Road Block were concerned that the new roads would lead to more traffic, cut through nature reserves, plough through some historically important sites, cost money and divert shoppers away from the town centre.
Inspector William Fieldhouse’s report was published on the 20th February, and instructed Durham Council to “delete the proposals for northern and western relief roads around the city of Durham.”
Fieldhouse’s report stated: “The roads are not consistent with national policy or justified…both proposed roads would have adverse impacts including on the setting of designated and non-designated heritage assets, valued landscapes, woodland, recreational routes, biodiversity, living conditions in residential properties, and the openness and purposes of the Green Belt”.
Fieldhouse is the second Inspector to criticise the County Durham Plan, writing five years after his predecessor.
Durham English student Ellie Vincent was interviewed by Palatinate about her objection to the roads in February 2019, when she stated “It is literally a matter of life and death that the Durham Plan cleans up its act”.
Vincent said “I am overjoyed at this news, and so proud of and grateful to the community who has campaigned and made this possible. Every time I walked through the woods which were marked for demolition, I felt a sense of despair- wondering just when we will stop destroying the life all around us. So this result is brilliant and literally vital.”
Featured Image: valePerzolla via Flickr and Creative Commons
Image: Caitlin Kinney