A66 Upgrade

Below is a letter from Highways England publicising their forthcoming statutory consultation. The time table of consultation venues and dates can be found by clicking on the thumbnail link below:

Dear Sir or Madam

I am contacting you as you have an interest in the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project.

Public consultation starts for the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project on 24 September and runs through to 6 November 2021. This will be your opportunity to learn more about our plans for dualling the A66 and to view our proposals in more detail. We strongly encourage you to provide your views to us through this statutory consultation, as this is intended to be the last round of consultation before submission of the DCO application. This will allow us to take your views into account in developing and refining our proposals in advance of submitting our application to the Planning Inspectorate. We also encourage you to share the details of this consultation, and how to get involved, with your wider network.

If you need hard copies of materials for reasons such as slow download speeds, please do reply back to request a copy to be posted to you. These can be provided free of charge, however, there may be a charge applied to copies of the other consultation documents.

How to find out more from 24 September:

Attend one of our drop-in sessions (shown in the purple table) or online webinarsVisit our website www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A66-NTP for the latest information, all of our consultation materials and our virtual consultation roomCall or email us to discuss any of the questions you may have on 0333 090 1192 or A66NTP@highwaysengland.co.ukVisit our Engagement Van, which will be travelling around local villages and market towns. The Engagement Van schedule is listed on the project webpage ·       Attend one of our deposit points to view consultation materials. The deposit points are listed on the project webpage
The consultation period closes at 11:59pm on 6 November.Please make sure your feedback has been submitted before consultation closes. To find out how to submit your feedback, visit our project website.

Kind regards,

A66 Northern Trans-Pennine Project Team

Highways England | Major Projects

Need to contact us?

Website:  https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/a66-northern-trans-pennine/

Email:  A66NTP@highwaysengland.co.uk

Twitter – www.twitter.com/A66NTP

Post:  A66 NTP, Highways England, Fifth Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BN

Timetable link:

thumbnail (522×779) (yahoo.com)

Since the announcement that the A66 is to be dualled between Penrith and Scotch Corner, it was felt a page of posts, plans and information would be better maintained on a dedicated page. Over the coming weeks, we hope to transfer relevant information to this page for ease of access.

While the Northern Trans Pennine Scheme is a nationally important one, which Warcop Parish Council supports on the grounds of road safety and economic benefit, our main concern is for the best route for our section between Appleby and Brough. We believe it should be as far away as possible from homes, businesses and amenities.

Please note the disclaimer regarding the HE plans:

“The plans are draft and only for the preferred route alignment. They do not take into account the alternatives which are currently being considered (as per the published leaflet). The proposals may change following stakeholder and landowner discussions, consideration of evidence base work and design development. They are not fixed at this stage.”

We are holding a public meeting at Warcop Parish hall for local residents to express their views on Highways England ‘s latest proposals. Our MP and local councillors have been invited. See poster link below:

http://MP stands with opponents to preferred A66 route – Cumberland and Westmorland Herald (cwherald.com)

Below is a cost analysis of route compared with HE’s options, showing our proposal to be far cheaper to build.

Warcop & Musgrave Parish Councils

LETTER TO THE EDITOR – SEPTEMBER 2021

PRESS RELEASE

Date: 10th August 2021

To: The Herald, Cumbria Crack, Radio Cumbria, ITV Border News, BBC Look North Cumbria & Northeast, Westmorland Gazette and national newspapers

Contact: David Keetley, Chair Warcop Parish Council 0780 708 5513 or

keetleyjd@sky.com

Subject: Landscape damage threat from new A66 route.

Residents of the Musgrave, Warcop and Sandford in Cumbria are up in arms at the thought of huge wagons pounding down a new A66 highway only metres from their homes.  They dispute the choice of Highways England as the “preferred” route, saying it will disrupt their lives even more than the present single carriageway. The so called “best option” will also need massive engineering work at new junctions, affect a number of properties, and cost much more than it needs

The Appleby to Brough section forms part of the £1 billion scheme to dual all the remaining single carriageway sections between Penrith and Scotch Corner.

The residents maintain that they were only offered a single route option based on misleading information about discounted route options by Highways England. In their A66 Northern Trans-Pennine publication of summer 2019, on pages 30-31, Highways England offer reasons for rejecting five other route options. Point 4 discounted a route directly through the AONB “for environmental and ecology reasons. Considerable disruption was envisaged during the construction phase.” No examples of environmental or ecology impacts were given and in discussion with Highways England, this route was agreed to be the easiest and least disruptive scheme to build. Other options were discounted for AONB reasons and the impact on Warcop Roman Camp, which does not exist. Point 5 rejected a Flitholme option but current plans show a complex junction arrangement, link road extending to Langrigg which does exactly what HE says they were trying to avoid!

The Chairs of each Parish Council also object to this route on the grounds that it will bring a four-lane highway closer to properties, business and farms along the route thereby increasing air, noise and visual pollution.

While supporting the economic and safety reasons for dualling the road, local people feel that the Highways England route should be scrapped, and their alternative northern bypass option adopted instead. In a recent survey, 94% of residents supported a northern route compared to Highways England’s proposal. Billy Welsh, leader of the traveller community, also pointed out that “part of the route would run across Brough Fair Hill, an important historic and cultural site granted a charter in 1370. We will not allow this road to be built there, and fully support the alternative route that the two Parish Councils are proposing.”

Chair of Warcop Parish Council. David Keetley said “Essentially, we are demanding a northern bypass, using low-grade agricultural and rough land currently used by the MOD. We accept that some of it would have to go across AONB land, but we are the custodians of that land as we live here. This road will exist for hundreds of years, and we must protect our communities for future generations.” He added that the southern boundary of the AONB is completely arbitrary, simply using the fact that there was a road there, not based on the intrinsic beauty of the landscape.

As well as removing all the pollution threats, campaigners also point to the fact that their proposed northern route would be cheaper and easier to build, with far fewer unnecessary junctions, and freeing up the old A66 as a local access road for farm vehicles, cyclists, walkers, horse riders and non-motorised users.

“Only two main junctions would be required,” adds Mark Blackett-Ord, a fellow campaigner, “one near Café 66 and the other at Brough. Furthermore, our route takes it further away from historic monuments and ancient barrows to the south of the existing carriageway,”

“Natural England will only consider such a route through AONB in ‘exceptional circumstances,’ says Mr Keetley. “We believe our health and well-being are precisely the exceptional circumstances that must be met. Other schemes have been built through AONB so why not our bypass proposal?”

Ironically, having started the consultations saying that any new road could not go across MOD or AONB land, Highways England have now revised some parts of the route by doing exactly that. This embarrassing U-turn follows on from a recent controversy involving the infilling of a local bridge by Highways England at Musgrave, with some local groups saying there was no consultation, planning application or real need for the work.

A recent public meeting was held in Warcop attended by the MP for Penrith & The Borders, Dr Neil Hudson. Since then, he has thrown his weight behind the Norther route campaign. See this link to his press release:

MP stands with opponents to preferred A66 route – Cumberland and Westmorland Herald (cwherald.com)

He has also promised to raise the case with the MOD, Natural England and the Secretary of State, Grant Shapps, urging him to instruct Highways England to conduct a scoping exercise for the northern route option.

The campaign group intends to continue to lobby Highways England and politicians to press for the northern bypass and aim to start an online petition which will include the following points:

Landscape damage threat from new A66 route.

Highways England’s route for the proposed dual carriageway has been chosen for no other reason than to run just south of the existing A66, which is technically the southern boundary of the huge North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  We call for a properly engineered and landscaped route further north, across a small part of Warcop MoD Training Area.  Their proposal already strays a little on to the AONB, and it creates an unnecessarily huge and awkward structure (much of it 25 feet above ground level, for maximum pollution, and on a cramped site) with the following consequences:

  1. Their rebuilding is so close to the existing A66, as to make continued use of either road very difficult and expensive during the years of construction.
  2. It will completely destroy the heritage sites on the verge of the existing A66 (a Roman Road) and in particular, a bronze age barrow to the west and the site of the continuing medieval Brough Hill Fair to the east.
  3. The existing A66 (which is to be preserved as the local access road) is joined by four public roads from the villages to the south but none from the north which is MoD land. The proposal is that the dual carriageway will overlie all four of these roads, with overpasses and junctions for each, creating a visual mess on the very edge of an AONB.
  4. The route is close to the villages of Warcop and Flitholme and to several private residences and agricultural properties and passes through first-class ancient rural landscape of much greater value than the shabby MoD Training Area land.
  5. The water run-off from the new dual carriageways is all destined to flow into the Crooks Beck which passes through and regularly floods the village of Warcop. The proposal is to build some ponds to slow the additional water from the new run-off, but climate change is likely to make such arrangements inadequate.
  6. The cramped proposed route allows no provision for badly needed cyclist, pedestrian, and horse-drawn access.

None of these problems would occur if the route ran on a (cheaper and easier to build) path further to the north, which Highways England has declined to contemplate and so has not even investigated.

Should you require further information or would like to conduct an interview with local people affected by the plans, please contact me on this email address or telephone number at the top of this press release.

David Keetley

This is what Highways England says is its current preferred rout option between Appleby and Brough: