A JUNCTION on the A1 in Northumberland will have to be downgraded – unless a wind farm developer pays up to £50,000.
The junction with a minor road between Alnwick and Belford will have to be returned to how it was before the developer carried out improvements – unless it agrees to pay for the future maintenance there. A resident who has amassed 100 signatures on a petition calling for the junction to be left as it is last night said lives could be lost if the junction is returned to how it was.
The developer has said it is willing to pay for the junction to stay as it is.
The minor road leads to Wandylaw, where developer RidgeWind is soon to erect 10 turbines.
As part of its planning approval, the company was required to carry out improvements to the junction including widening it for the benefit of delivery vehicles.
However, as part of those conditions, the junction had to be returned to its previous condition once the turbines are delivered.
Wandylaw resident Gary Barber got up the petition once he discovered this, believing the improved junction to be safer, which he has now presented to Northumberland County Council.
He said: “Bearing in mind no-one wanted the wind farm in the first place, that was the one good thing.
“We are not asking for any money, we are just asking can you leave it as it is.”
Mr Barber claimed drivers were “taking their lives in their hands” at the junction before improvements were carried out. He said: “I have seen at Swarland people getting killed coming out on to the A1, I do not want to come back in a year’s time and say I told you so.
“Everyone who uses the roads want it left as it is.”
A report to a meeting of the county council next week tells how the Highways Agency has revealed that the junction can be left as it is, if the developer pays for future maintenance.
The agency initially gave a cost of £240,000 for this, but then reduced it to less than £50,000. Marc Lamphiere, wind farm project manager, last night said the developer would be willing to pay for the junction to remain as it is.
“We have been aware of this petition and working with the community to try and leave it for them. It makes not a lot of sense to reinstate it so it is less safe.
“We would have to sit down and look at charges which the client would be prepared to bear on behalf of the community.”
The council is being recommended to encourage the agency to continue discussions with the developer with a view to the improvements being retained.