Middlesbrough Council should work constructively with local residents

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Timeline

Timeline

MartonCrawl
Since creating this website to alert local residents of Middlesbrough Council’s plans for the local road network, we are gradually unearthing and piecing together the way our local councils have behaved, sanctioning massive housing developments whilst fundamentally failing to support the area with a road network capable of supporting the traffic growth. We have used a combination of internet searches, Freedom of Information requests, discussions with local Councillors, Parish and Community Councils and residents.  Middlesbrough Council has sold large tranches of land in the south of Middlesbrough for housing, justifying the developments using a Strategic Housing Sites report (2013) and Traffic Micro-Simulation report (2016) and Addendum that fail to consider the impact of housing developments in Redcar & Cleveland or Hambleton (in particular, Stokesley), that add to the traffic. This aside, the traffic plans are fundamentally flawed because Middlesbrough Council’s basic philosophy is that all the extra traffic arising from the south east developments will be squeezed down Dixons Bank (A172), an already choked road during rush-hour, into Marton and Coulby Newham. This flawed approach has arisen because Middlesbrough Council and Redcar & Cleveland Council have, over many decades, failed to plan effectively together and build a fit-for-purpose road network. Their greatest collective failing, to build the East Cleveland Gateway - a road from Swans Corner roundabout in Nunthorpe to the A174 Parkway. 09-Sept-2005 Tony Gordon, Director for Sustainable Communities (Redcar & Cleveland), recommends to rescind all proposals to build the East Cleveland Gateway. As a consequence, the land at Swans Corner is later sold by Redcar and Cleveland for building and the access effectively lost for ever. Middlesbrough Council were aware of this report and therefore complicit in allowing this route to be closed off. Sept 2012 David Wilson Homes Section 106 conditions for the development of Grey Towers Farm, 295 dwellings and community centre. Section 106 payments include £3.6 million for off-site highways works, in particular works to 10 junctions as located on the highways plan. 29-Oct-2013 Middlesbrough Council and Redcar and Cleveland Strategic Housing Sites Report published on the website. This reports includes an option of a Stainton Way (East) extension to Swans Corner, eight years after Redcar & Cleveland effectively close access at Swans Corner.  The report does recognise that this route may not be deliverable re: Redcar & Cleveland, but the very fact that it is included for consideration appears an attempt to suggest the route is still an option to support the housing developments. 09-Dec-2016 (these reports were not made available on their website until December 2017 after a number of resident challenges) Middlesbrough Council South West Middlesbrough Micro-Simulation Model Forecasting Report and Addendum published. Note that these are only Middlesbrough Council reports, not a combined authority analysis. The area under consideration excludes modelling of Swans Corner or the A171, yet includes in the model two non-existent major infrastructure projects that are proposed, but currently unfunded. The reports also fail to recognise the traffic contributions from large housing developments in both Stokesley and Guisborough. Under The Localism Act 2011, the councils have a duty to cooperate. It is evident that our councils don’t! Sept-2017 Eight owner-occupiers with properties with driveways onto Dixons Bank sent formal consultation documents regarding the Dixons Bank/Stainton Way road widening proposal. Middlesbrough Council do not consider that any other owner-occupiers, including those backing onto Stainton Way and Dixons Bank need consulting. Oct/Nov/Dec - 2017 We become aware of Middlesbrough Council’s plans and raise awareness locally of the Council’s plans.  Many residents raise objections and complaints over the way Middlesbrough Council have effectively tried to push through its plans without proper consultation. The Council Transport representative Rob Farnham attends three local council ward meetings to explain the proposals, but these are informal. Many more objections and questions are raised by residents, but no political questions are answered. A Steering Group (local residents group) is formed to help channel responses across the affected Wards. During this period, a small group of us, along with Cllr Jon Rathmell, have been chasing Middlesbrough and Redcar Councils for further information through Freedom of Information requests. Whilst Redcar and Cleveland Council have responded with information in a timely manner, Middlesbrough Council have been obstructive in releasing information with responses that: lack information; returns that state the requests are ‘manifestly unreasonable’  and delaying responses beyond the legal 20-working days. 08-Dec-2017 The Steering Group held a meeting to raise residents awareness of the road widening proposal and gather feedback. Around 100 local residents attended this meeting and a survey was conducted. Disappointingly, Middlesbrough Council did not send a representative as Mayor David Budd stated later that they did not recognise the group. However, Simon Clarke MP attended and did his best to respond to questions, but as the Council have the ‘experts’, their presence would have been beneficial and showed they had an interest in the concerns of local residents. 12-Dec-2018 Radio Tees broadcast commencing 07:50 included interviews with a local resident and councillor regarding the Steering Group meeting. Disappointingly, Mayor Budd was given time to comment without an opportunity for any challenge of his statements. 18-Dec-2017 Middlesbrough Council bends to pressure and agrees to consult all those owner-occupiers that also back onto the proposed road widening scheme and extend the consultation deadline to 12th January 2018.  This increases the number of owner-occupiers consulted from 7 to 89. However, they delay sending out the consultation information for three weeks, the forms posted out on 18th December, leaving little time over the festive season to respond. After complaints regarding this tactic, the closing date is extended to 18th March 2018. 28-Jan-2018 Nunthorpe Parish Council send an objection statement to Mayor David Budd. 08-Feb-2018 Through a Freedom of Information request to Redcar & Cleveland Council, it appears that there is to be a Joint Strategic Transport Needs Assessment conducted for the area commencing 29th January and ending 27th July 2018. No surprise that Middlesbrough Council have said nothing about this! However, the fact that this has been proposed, may indicate they now recognise the issue of transport infrastructure is area wide. It also raises the question whether the current proposals are therefore fundamentally flawed due to their lack of scope, and should be shelved. We believe that the current proposals should be shelved, but that the owner-occupier responses to the on-going consultation should be input into a new assessment so they can be fully considered in the formulation of any new plans/proposals. We do not want to start from ground-zero again. 15-Feb-2018 A Road Traffic Accident (RTA) occured at the Dixons Bank/Guisborough Road/Brass Castle Lane junction on 15-Feb-2018. This follows an earlier RTA on Dixons Bank in December 2017 and several other RTAs over the years. This road already has a higher than average accident rate for the class of road and further supports our position that no more traffic should be funnelled down Dixons Bank. 22-Feb-2018 David Wilson Homes has submitted a planning application to increase the number of homes being built on the Grey Towers Village estate from 295 to 408 houses, an increase of 113 properties. Their traffic survey conducted on 20th December 2017 to support this finds: The predicted net traffic impacts shown in Figure 7 indicate that the proposed development would generate a net reduction in the 2-way trips in the AM peak, shared across a slight increase of 13 incoming and a reduction of 35 outgoing trips. There will be no material impact in the AM peak as a result of the proposed development, compared with the impacts associated with the consented development. Arriving at this conclusion based on a single one-day traffic survey is fundamentally flawed and yet is being used to justify the 38% increase in housing. 23-Feb-2018 Nunthorpe Parish Council have arranged a public meeting to be attended by the Mayor on Tuesday 06 March 2018 at 7.00 pm in the Chandlers Ridge Academy school hall. 06-Mar-2018 Public meeting organised by Nunthorpe Parish Council was attended by Mayor David Budd, Cllr Lewis Young and Rob Farnham (Transport). Eight pre-written questions based on residents concerns and input had been formulated by NPC and sent to Mayor Budd in advance of the meeting. These formed the framework for the meeting with questions from the floor supplementing these eight questions. The Facebook page ‘Nunthorpe Working Together’ has details and comments regarding the meeting. 18-Mar-2018 The public consultation closed and Middlesbrough Council will consider the responses. As they have no plan-B, it seems highly unlikely that they will given much though to the numerous objection to the proposal even though these objections are soundly based.