“No!” to the whole Northern Access Corridor

This is a reaction from newcycling.org to Council’s announcement (html, external) that it will scrap Blue House, but not Haddrick’s Mill

Katja Leyendecker, chair newcycling.org, says “It’s great – one thing however is very worrying. It is the concept for the Northern Access Corridor, not just the Blue House location, that is flawed. To go ahead with Haddrick’s Mill is not right. In fact it makes stopping Blue House a sham. The whole concept of the corridor as a motorway-style through-route must be assessed and discussed. We ask council to think holistically and halt Haddrick’s Mill too.”

Sally Watson, newcycling Committee member for Community and Political Liaison, says: “It is great to see that the council has acknowledged the strength of feeling about their plans to drive more traffic through our city. Talking to local groups is a positive step but the debate needs to be widened to include the whole Northern Access Corridor. People clearly want something different to business-as-usual traffic management: they want their streets to be designed for liveability and to enable more people to walk, cycle and use public transport. It is very worrying to see that Haddrick’s Mill has been waved through despite a great number of people objecting to the principle of the motorway-style through route and a junction which does little for pedestrians and cyclists. We should be trying to get more people walking and cycling, not making it more difficult for them. All of the junctions on this route should be designed with future travel patterns in mind, the current designs are not good enough and are already out of date. This is a plea to our leaders for a better plan which is aligned to the city’s policies on transport and health.”

Katja adds: “We welcome the new direction the council has taken. On the whole, it is good to know that the council can still listen, albeit after a massive protest had to take place. But it must also be acknowledged that a lot of volunteer time has been wasted on this negative proposal. Public confidence in the council is now shaken. To constructively and cooperatively rebuild that loss of trust, council must take great care – and slow down their approach for the full Northern Access Corridor.

“The public wants to understand what happened and why. Maybe the transport expert council talks about can help to mediate and untangle the technical and political strands. It is great to hear that a group will be set up by council to discuss. A group where council hopefully lays open their approach, so we can look at future designs fitting for a city with a policy of sustainability and mode shift written in their Local Plan. We ask council to share all information and technical assumptions used for the fateful transport models that have played such a destructive part in the Northern Access Corridor plans. This will take time, and council must provide this time. We must be let in to see to the bottom of the council designs and make them good and fit for a prosperous future of Newcastle.”