Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Proposed temporary footpath closure at Bluebell Close

Notification has been received of a proposal to temporarily close the public footpath behind Bluebell Close in Blackhall Colliery next month to allow for cable overlay works in two phases.

Letters providing local residents with full details of the closures, including an alternative pedestrian route, will be circulated before the works begin but in the meantime the advance notification received is reproduced below in full:

DCC have been asked to process a temporary 2 phased footpath closure for 20 days from 30 Sept 2019 at the rear of Bluebell Close, Blackhall Colliery from Hesleden Road in a southerly direction to the B1281 for electrical cable overlay works.

Pedestrian diversion routes will be signposted locally for both phases of the closure.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Repair works to damaged wall at Hillcrest Place scheduled to begin this week

Last week officers from Durham County Council and Believe Housing (formerly known as the County Durham Housing Group) confirmed that works to repair the damaged wall at the former garage site at Hillcrest Place in Hesleden were scheduled to begin later this week.

This follows a series of lengthy delays seemingly caused by uncertainty between the two organisations over which held responsibility for carrying out the works (please see post dated Friday 22 May 2019 for background details).

Confirmation of scheduled repair works, along with an explanation for the delay, was received last week in an email from the Director of Communities and Customer Services at Believe Housing which is reproduced below in full:


I was passed your query below regarding the wall at Hillcrest Place and am now in a position to respond accordingly. The damaged wall is part of the publicly maintained adopted footpath which is DCC responsibility. This matter was discussed and agreed between Believe and DCC and we were assured that prompt action would be taken, like you we are keen to see this matter resolved.

JS from our team has contacted LP from DCC highways to raise both ours and your concerns and to understand why this issue has not been resolved. LP from DCC has apologised and assured us that works will commence within 5 to 7 working days;  he also stated that he will be actioning more works than he previously planned as the wall in question will have deteriorated further due to the length of time it has taken for DCC to action.

Due to the delay, it is our intention to follow this up with DCC to make sure that commencement on site is within the next 7 days and I will provide you with an update, so that you are able to respond to the residents. If you require any further detail from DCC on scope, reasons for delay etc. LP from DCC highways is leading on these works.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further concerns.

Kind Regards


I will publish any update reports from Believe Housing as and when I receive them.

Roadworks scheduled to take place in the Blackhall Division

Notification has been received of the following road works scheduled to take place later this month in the Blackhall Division of Durham County Council:

Traffic Management

South of Station Town
Carriageway reinstatement
2 way lights as required
28 August
30 August
Northumbrian Water
The Old Brewery, Castle Eden
Sewer cleansing
2 way lights (9:00am - 3:30pm)
19 August
19 August
Northumbrian Water

Mickle Hill Road, High Hesleden
new water supply
2 way lights (8:00am - 4:30pm)
22 August
29 August
Northumbrian Water

Friday, 26 July 2019

B1281 Signage Works

Please note below notification of road works scheduled to take place next week on the B1281:

Hesleden Road, Hesleden
Sign works
2 way lights (9:30am - noon)
1 August
1 August
Durham County Council

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Hesleden pit heap planning application

Durham County Council has received a planning application seeking consent to extend the time allowed to remove spoil from the pit heap at Hesleden (please see post dated Saturday, 25 November 2017 for background information).

Please follow the link below for full details of the application and also to register your comments with the planning department:

Variation of Condition 6 (Time limit for mineral extraction) of Planning Permission DM/14/00519/MIN for extension of time of mineral extraction until January 2022 - Former Colliery Spoil Heap Hesleden TS27 4PN

Friday, 5 July 2019

Traffic and road safety issues on the B1281, Blackhall Colliery to Castle Eden

We continue to press the highways and streetlighting sections at county hall to review the provision of streetlighting on the B1281 at its junction with the Hardwicke Hall Manor Hotel.

The B1281 looking east towards Blackhall Colliery from the Hardwicke Hall junction

This follows contact over the past few months from residents, businesses, walkers and other road users expressing their concerns about the potential dangers of vehicles and pedestrians using this road at particular times, especially during the hours of darkness. We have argued that there are specific circumstances at this location which would warrant the reinstatement of streetlights. These include the unusual twisting and undulating road layout, two difficult junctions at Hardwicke Hall and Belchford and also the potential increase in use of this road generated by future housing development.

In addition, we recently contacted the police and highways management officers to request a review or survey of traffic use and road safety along the entire B1281 between Blackhall Colliery and Castle Eden following two separate accidents, one near to the Hardwicke Hall junction and the other close to the eastern junction from Hesleden onto the B1281, both incidentally in daylight and good weather conditions.

This latest request is not to be confused with traffic-calming measures already approved for the stretch of the B1281 as it passes through Castle Eden. We have been assured that road safety measures agreed as part of a road traffic review by Durham Constabulary and the county council will begin this summer, as soon as roadworks in this area are fully completed. We have also worked closely with members of Castle Eden Parish Council on a proposal to have speed visors installed at this location (please see posts dated Friday 22 February 2019 for additional information on the matter).

Overgrown trees and verges on the B1281

We were contacted recently by residents in Castle Eden concerned about overgrown verges and overhanging trees on the B1281 between The Village and Hesleden.

We asked the county council's Clean and Green team, along with the senior tree officer, to consider the issues reported by residents and following a site meeting earlier this week they reported back as follows:

Hi Rob,

I held a site meeting with one of our Tree Inspectors.  Please find below our conclusions:

We have inspected the area of concern and while some defects were noted on several trees, none were considered to require urgent attention at present. The area is inspected regularly as part of the councils highway tree inspection and we will continue to inspect in line with these procedures and any significant defects will be noted and acted upon, whether the tree is on DCC land or private land.

It was noticed on the inspection that the public footpath was difficult to walk down due to the vegetation and I will raise the overhead branches along the path.


This response has been relayed to residents for their comments.

In relation to this matter we have received confirmation from the council's traffic asset engineer that highway improvement works, including a scheme to install traffic-calming measures, are scheduled to be carried out at this location during the summer months.

These works will include the reinstatement of highway markings, vegetation clearance, signage maintenance and replacement and other measures recommended in the traffic management review carried out last year by Durham Constabulary and the county council's highways section (please see posts dated Friday 22 February 2019, Thursday 24 January 2019 and Friday 9 November 2018 for additional information).