RESIDENTS on a newbuild estate have been left without a pavement, meaning kids and OAP have to cross a dangerous road where cars whizz past.
Families on the Fairways and Arcot Manor estates in Cramlington, Northumberland, say they can only access their homes via Fisher Lane.
That means everyone, including school kids and pensioners, have to cross a busy 50mph road to get to the bus stop.
There’s no pedestrian or bike access to local services apart from a stretch of road they have to walk along for a third of a mile, without any footpath, as vehicles speed by.
They then have to cross the A1068 to get to the footpath and cycle network at Northumberlandia, where the speed limit increases to 70mph.
The council has said the developers – a partnership of Bellway Homes and Persimmon – are obligated to put in associated infrastructure via a Section 106 agreement that was part of the planning process.
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However, this only comes into force when a certain number of homes have been built, and that threshold has not yet been reached.
In February, Northumberland County Council agreed to look at building a temporary footpath across a piece of land it owns in order to give families safe access to the town centre, the Chronicle Live reports.
However, at a meeting of the council’s petitions committee last Thursday, senior planning officer Liz Sinnamon said the plans had run into problems.
She said: "There is a masterplan there and the footways are being delivered and the targets are being met.
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“The position from planning is that the development is being built according to consent and those suitable footways will be delivered at some point in the future.
"We're looking for viable options to bring a suitable footpath in the short-term to allow residents to get into Cramlington. "
What is a Section 106?
A Section 106 sets out the planning obligations between a local council and developers.
Section 106 refers to section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, according to the government’s website.
Planning obligations run with the land and are legally binding.
Developers may be asked to provide contributions for infrastructure in a number of ways.
Developers can contribute towards the necessary infrastructure via the Community Infrastructure Levy, which is a fixed charge levied on new development to fund infrastructure, such as public roads, pavements and lighting.
They are usually used to support transport infrastructure improvements, although there have been examples of obligations being used to support training initiatives, environmental improvements and corporate aims, as well as to offset the impact of a development.
The council’s land was said to be “mucky” and holding water due to ongoing construction work, making it unsuitable.
Ms Sinnamon said any path would need “a lot of engineering work and require its own planning consent.”
Councillor Caroline Ball said residents were being let down.
She said: "I personally feel the residents have been screwed over as part of the sales pitch.
“There seems to be very little we can really do until we reach that magic number of houses.
"When you're paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for a house, should you not be able to expect to get to a bus stop, or local attractions or a school, safely?"
Ms Sinnamon said the council’s policy had changed since the scheme was granted outline permission in 2015.
She said: "We look for really early triggers for these things. Eight hundred is a really big number.
"We probably wouldn't go for such a high number now, but that's easy for me to say now."
Residents have been given some hope though, with a spokesman for Persimmon saying after the meeting that developers were due to meet with the council “imminently”.
A Persimmon North East spokesperson said in a statement: “Both ourselves and our joint venture partners Bellway have been liaising with Northumberland County Council on the issue of a footpath link over recent months and are due to meet the Council again imminently.
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“Once the local authority has identified the location of a proposed pedestrian link on their land, we will be happy to work with the council and Bellway to bring the link to fruition.”
The committee has also agreed a further report should come back to them in 12 months time to ensure progress was being made.
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