Teesside TV

Sunrise Sunset

STAINSBY COUNTRY PARK: Controversial spine road

STAINSBY COUNTRY PARK: Controversial spine road

Stainsby Country Park, Image: Gradon Architecture

Middlesbrough’s mayor has said that the council’s decision on the Stainsby Country Park masterplan could take up to a year due to the controversial spine road.

The council’s executive decided to delay the vote on the masterplan at the meeting on June 28, while it sought legal advice about the proposed road through Mandale Meadow.

At the full council meeting on September 22, Mayor Andy Preston said that he was prepared to wait to approve plans until it is proven ‘categorically necessary’ for the road to be built.

Labour Group leader Cllr Matt Storey asked the mayor to confirm that the decision on the road would take into account the concerns of residents and does not bring about legal trouble for the council.

Mayor Preston responded: “No, I cannot confirm when that will come back to exec, the reason for that is, we need to be certain that we have all the facts.

“Any really big decision you have to wait until you have all the possible facts. This decision is about whether I/we want to endorse the building of a road through a greenfield site.

“And sometimes doing that is absolutely necessary and sometimes it isn’t and as things stand, I am not convinced it is absolutely necessary. I am asking for more info to make me sure one way or the other.

“I would like to see the housing built, I think it would be good for Middlesbrough, I don’t think it would damage our environment.

“But I am not ready and I don’t think the exec team is ready to explicitly endorse the building of a new road through a green field site until we are certain that it’s absolutely necessary.

“I have asked for more info and if that takes a week, a month or a year so be it.”

However, the mayor did add that this does not prevent developers from putting in planning permission for the housing or the road and this decision will then be down to the Planning Committee.

Middlesbrough Greenstuff campaigner, Judith Maunder, who has been campaigning against the spine road alongside Martyn Walker, also believes the road is not necessary.

She added: “I am pleased Andy Preston is giving serious consideration to not building a road through Mandale meadow.

“Residents think the answer to Matthew Storey’s question is very simple and in line with Andy’s reply; it is not necessary to build a very busy road through a much loved and much-used meadow which has officially documented red list species on it.

“I wish Matthew Storey and his Labour colleagues had listened to ‘residents concerns’ about the road in the past when they first conceived this heinous plan.”

In response, Cllr Storey said: “Residents have been extensively consulted and now the decision rests with Mayor Preston.

“We’ve had enough dither and delay and after switching from promising to scrap the road to backing the road to delaying the whole thing, 26th October is decision time.

“I’m sure local people would be more reassured if it didn’t take Labour councillors to tell the mayor when he was due to be making key decisions.

“He should really know these things before we point them out to him.”

Cllr Storey is referring to his follow-up question in the meeting where he flagged to the mayor that council documents state the masterplan will be voted on at the exec meeting on October 26, after the mayor said he didn’t know when the issue would be returning.

However, during the meeting, the mayor responded: “I will just confirm for the record, no report will be coming forward until myself and the exec team are really comfortable that we have enough information to make that decision. It’s a crucial decision.

“If you live nearby, if that green space is precious to you, we aren’t going to build a road until someone proves it is categorically necessary. So I am waiting on that info.”

While developers can still submit planning applications, the point of the masterplan is to set out the council’s preferred options for the housing and the spine road.

In theory, this should mean that it can exert more control over the site and upcoming proposals.


Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter

Watch Live

Watch the channel on TV






Virgin Media