Fear junction will create ‘rat-runs’

Families in South Gosforth have been left ‘gobsmacked’ by proposals that will turn roads near a major hospital into commuter rat runs.

Plans for the Haddrick’s Mill junction will drastically change the layout of roads near Freeman Hospital, they say.

The biggest bone of contention is the removal of the mini-roundabout and the creation of several one-way systems.

This means drivers will no longer be allowed to turn right from Benton Park Road to Hunters Road.

Instead, the residents will be diverted up a lane no wider than five metres to get to the Hunters Road estate.

East Gosforth councillor Henry Gallagher said: “Residents are angry that despite their main road leading down to one of Newcastle’s major junctions, they effectively have to use the ‘tradesman’s entrance’ via the back lane to get onto their estate.”

To get to their homes, drivers will have to go up Station Road then back down Commercial Road.

Commercial Road lies behind shops on Station Road, and is mainly used by shopkeepers, residents and for rubbish collection.

Ian Campbell, from Ridgewood Crescent in Gosforth, called the plans an “expensive bandaid” which is “a disproportionate solution for a residential area”.

He expressed his concerns that taking away the roundabout will make traffic faster – and so much more dangerous.

Gillian Robinson, from Hunters Court, also questioned whether the changes would ease pressure on roads “heaving between 6pm and 9pm”.

The junction has one of the highest collision and injury statistics of any junction in Newcastle.

Coun Ged Bell, Cabinet member for Investment and Development, said: “Our proposals for Haddricks Mill roundabout are aimed at reducing traffic congestion during peak times and making the junction safer for everyone who uses it.

“All feedback will be considered as we finalise the proposals that will go out for formal consultation in due course.”

The full details of the plans are available on the Newcastle City Council website.

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