A new junction will be built along a key County Durham route to create better access to a future housing estate of 1,400 homes. 

The new access point will be created on the A167 into Newton Aycliffe, where it serves Central Avenue and the town centre to the west and Aycliffe Secure Centre and the North-East Centre for Autism at Aycliffe School to the east.

The scheme, which was approved by councillors on Durham County Council’s planning committee this week, will reconfigure the existing ‘T’ junction into a crossroad junction

Physical changes to the current road will include: two lanes southbound on the A167; a two-lane exit from the Copelaw allocation; separate right turn into the Copelaw allocation; a new right lane to allow movements from Central Avenue to the Copelaw allocation; and signal-controlled pedestrian crossing across all arms of the junction.

The junction is proposed to serve a future housing development with up to 770 homes due to be built by 2035 and then a further 630 in the future. A new primary school and community facilities in the form of a local centre are also proposed for the site. 

Alongside the new A167 junction, the existing junction at the north end of Newton Aycliffe and Rushyford roundabout will be redesigned to provide pedestrian and cycle links across the A167. A secondary access will also be formed off Ricknall Lane onto the A167, however no formal application has been submitted yet. The current roadworks proposed are described as ‘unlocking’ the potential for future development.

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But in objection, one resident in the nearby St. Oswald’s Court development suggests a roundabout as preferable, with the current proposals purported to be designed ‘to annoy motorists and residents’ with the ultimate aim of discouraging car usage.

A statement from the applicant, Durham County Council, read: “The junction improvements on the A167 / B6443 Central Avenue in Newton Aycliffe, will provide suitable access that will help to enable and unlock the future development of the Low Copelaw strategic housing site to the east of the A167.”

Councillors approved the plans and praised the council’s decision to submit the road redevelopment works before the housing development was built.