Decision deferred on controversial new pedestrian and cycle access linking two estates

The new access would link Schofield Way on the Bracken Grange estate with Scholars Rise
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

A decision over a new link between two Middlesbrough estates has been delayed to allow for further consultation.

As reported, Middlesbrough Council wants to create a new access between Schofield Way on the Bracken Grange estate and Scholars Rise to the east. The stretch of new path across council-owned land is aimed at providing a direct link for residents of the Bracken Grange estate to nearby amenities.

The plans have been met with opposition amid fears of an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour. Some residents also say a new pedestrian route is unnecessary as there is already a footpath adjacent to the James Cook University Hospital.

The Executive member for environment at the local authority, Cllr Peter Gavigan, was due to make a decision on the plans on Monday but deferred it for further consultation. A Middlesbrough Council spokesman said: “The decision has been deferred so that more information can be gathered on the proposal and how it may be implemented.

“This pause will also give us the opportunity to further explore other options. A new report will be presented in due course.”

A four-week consultation was held in January and February and 36 responses were received, with one in favour of the proposed scheme and 35 against. Facebook polls set up by residents of the housing estates suggested an overwhelming majority (90 per cent) were not in support of the scheme.

Local resident Gary Davidson said: "Middlesbrough already has an issue with motorbikes tearing around and this gives another route. We’ve had issues before when the fence between the estates has been damaged.

"The fact that there is already access via the sports village and the James Cook path there is no need for this. The distance between the James Cook station path and Scholars Rise is less than 300 metres. That’s a two to three minute walk, meaning this will save a maximum of five to six minutes for a pedestrian!

"Why is this being pushed when no one wants it? It saves very little time, there’s very little benefit but the issues will be massive."

John Camp said: "It is not required and neither is it wanted. Already there is a cutting between Bracken and Marton Road, there is no need for additional access through Scholars Rise."

Another Scholars Rise resident, Anthony Marsay, said: "My main concerns are the increase of criminal activity already prevalent on the estate. This footpath link will open up more routes for potential crime to take place and to enable more escape routes for them."

There is also support for the footpath with one resident telling the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "It's quite frustrating that those who are against it keep stating that it's 'unwanted'. However there are several families who are very much in favour of it. "

A council report said the proposed route would result in a significant decrease in journey time for parents and students travelling from the growing Bracken Grange development. The James Cook path route is "circuitous", said the report, and parents and students have told of "numerous" incidents of anti-social behaviour on the path.

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