The Committee received a report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration, Economy and Growth that advised of the proposed introduction a prohibition of motor vehicles restriction on the access road/layby to the east of the A688, approximately 40m north of Tursdale village and asked that they consider the objections made during the informal and formal consultation period (for copy see file of Minutes).
The Traffic Management Section Manager gave a detailed presentation which showed that the restriction would run between its northern junction with the A688, in an easterly then southerly direction to its junction with Ramsey Street, a total distance of approximately 75 metres. He advised that a lot of HGV drivers were using the carriageway and it had become a major concern for local residents. An article in the Northern Echo on 23 December 2020 had reported a man urinating in the area and there was photographic evidence of human faeces and toilet paper in the layby. This had presented a health and safety concern.
The Traffic Management Section Manager added that various solutions had been explored however as the layby was required for highways maintenance a permanent closure and fencing off of the area was not an option. Therefore, it was proposed to use a lockable boom gate.
Further to the advert of the proposed traffic regulation order there was one objection received, detailed within the report. Part of the objection said that toilet facilities should be provided as parking at the services in Bowburn was expensive, and that it did not impact the residents. The response to the objector stated that this was impacting upon the quality of life for local residents due to the anti-social behaviour of littering and people using the layby as a toilet. It impacted upon pedestrians and was causing road safety concerns. There were facilities available at Bowburn services less than a mile away at a cost of £25 per night per HGV with a £10 voucher to spend on drink and food.
The Chair invited representations from local members present.
Councillor J Blakey said that this issue had begun in 2010 with the proposal of the Amazon site at Integra 61 and she had expected the planning process to deal with the envisaged problems. In 2010, former Councillor Mac Williams had requested a roundabout which had not been approved. Following that the stretch of road in question had the removal of trees to try and stop the anti-social behaviour. She advised that this worked for a while but problems have since returned. She was concerned that local residents put up with refrigeration vehicles running all night and lights on vehicles being left on during the night. This affected one street in particular and she added that it was not right that people had to put up with this. There was a new play area which the children could not use due to what was going on in the layby. She asked the committee to support the recommendations and have sympathy with the residents.
Councillor M McKeon thanked the officers for working closely with local members on this project. Referring to the objection received she said that there was a facility just up the road so there was alternative provision available. The layby was originally intended as a turning circle and belonged to Durham County Council. The people affected by this lived in a small village and had to put up with a lot of upheaval. They should not be expected to walk past human faeces. She fully supported the officer recommendation for the people living in Tursdale.
As the officers present did not have any further comments to make and as the objector was not present the chair moved on and asked for questions and comments from the committee members.
Councillor Kay said that this was a small village which had been impacted by the opening of the Amazon site and he believed that they should have provided off site parking, and should have been part of the planning process. He said that the HGV drivers should use the services available at Bowburn. He was concerned that this village had had to endure anti-social behaviour which had caused angst within the community. He fully supported the recommendations to close off the layby.
The Chair asked if there was sufficient capacity at the facilities nearby and was advised by the local members that there was capacity for parking. They believed the issue to be the cost of using these facilities and commented that the Amazon site also had capacity to house these vehicles.
Councillor Kay moved and Councillor Simpson seconded the recommendation.
Upon a vote being taken it was
Resolved: That the proposal in principle to proceed with the implementation of the Tursdale Prohibition of Motor Vehicles Traffic Regulation Order with the final decision to be made by the Corporate Director under delegated powers, be endorsed.