MIDDLESBROUGH SPINE ROAD: Petition gathers almost 1600 signatures to oppose road
A RURAL campaign group has joined the ranks of objectors in opposing a new spine road lined up in west Middlesbrough.
More than 1.600 homes have been lined up east of the A19 as part of a fresh Stainsby country park vision – with a controversial north-south road cutting through part of Mandale meadow.
Campaigners at Middlesbrough Greenstuff have aired ardent disapproval of the winding 30mph road.
And now the CPRE Countryside Charity has aired its own “significant concerns” about the road’s potential impact on wildlife.
The CPRE’s North Yorkshire branch had been contacted by worried Teessiders after the latest version of the Stainsby country park plan emerged.
The group – formerly known as the Campaign to Protect Rural England – pointed to concerns that the 140 hectare area was “one of the few remaining areas of major open space” in the town.
Its representatives also believed other sites in Middlesbrough could meet housing demand in the next five years at least – and urged officials to consider reducing the number of homes lined up in the new local plan to be published next year.
The CPRE added: “While it’s recognised that the masterplan seeks to retain existing green corridors and create an essence of “country park living”, (we) believe that the proposed development as set out in would totally alter the character of of the green wedges – removing the openness and the long-range agricultural views entirely.”
The charity also believed the upcoming new local plan and pressing concerns over the climate rendered the spine road “unnecessary”.
And its letter claimed the proposal wasn’t needed given the number of brownfield sites earmarked for homes at Middlehaven, Grove Hill and Newport.
A total of 20,000 extra trees, public orchards, cycleways, a community hub and new sports pitches are part of the new vision for land at Brookfield as part of the framework for 1,670 homes.
Chiefs want to retain 54% of the land as green space as part of the vision.
But there has been outcry at the prospect of the “Stainton Way Western Extension”.
Almost 1,600 people have signed an online petition opposing the road cutting through Mandale Meadow – with the plea fearing the route would “forever change and blight” the cherished stretch.
Greenstuff founder Martyn Walker wanted to see road loop back onto Low lane, or find an alternative exit point to safeguard the green space.
The “primary route” is earmarked to wind its way from Jack Simon Way to Mandale Road/Acklam Road in the north.
But the road has been in the borough’s Local Plan blueprint since 2014.
Council leaders say there is very little which can be done to undo the route in the Local Plan without risking a big financial blow to the authority’s coffers.
Last month, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston pointed to the removal of 100 homes allocated on Mandale Meadow – and that he and colleagues had challenged the road.
However, he warned the council was open to a “huge risk of legal action” and “massive financial damages” from land owners and developers if the road wasn’t built now.
He added: “This is because the potential road’s existence in the Local Plan has brought land deals forward – these deals would collapse if the road doesn’t happen.
“I completely understand that some people are very unhappy about the idea of the road – and I share their loathing of roads unless they are 100% necessary.”
Chiefs have also warned much of the land east of the A19 is privately owned – with the vision offering the council more control and sway over facilities on the stretch when planning permission is lodged.
A consultation on the country park closed on Monday with results expected soon.
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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