South Tyneside roads chiefs preparing for next steps in plans to move A183 Coast Road away from crumbling Marsden cliffs
South Tyneside Council’s cabinet is due to discuss the next steps to realign part of the A183 Coast Road to protect it from coastal erosion.
South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet will be asked to approve the next steps in a scheme to realign part of the A183 Coast Road and move it back from the clifftops.
The plans, which were approved by the council’s Planning Committee earlier this year, include realigning a section of highway between the Lime Kilns and the caravan site near Marsden Grotto.
To move the project forward, council chiefs will be asked to approve a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the land needed to make the change.
The realignment is on land owned by the National Trust, which has backed the scheme, but the council must go through the formal CPO process to acquire the land.
Cllr Jim Foreman, cabinet member for housing and transport, said the highways scheme was necessary to maintain the key road and protect the public.
He added: “The A183 is a popular route with both residents and visitors as it showcases our stunning coastline, but its future is currently at risk due to coastal erosion and the formation of caves.
“This scheme is necessary for public safety and to maintain an important part of the highway network.
“The National Trust cannot legally just relinquish this land without a formal legal CPO being served.
“This is simply a technical issue and National Trust is in full support of the scheme.”
The Coast Road realignment followed specialist surveys which identified ‘pinch points’ caused by the erosion of the limestone cliff face and the formation of caves.
The coastal path has already been ‘rolled back’ to a safe location away from the cliff edge in conjunction with the landowner, the National Trust.
The new road project will move the A183 Coast Road away from the clifftop at the tightest point, while the existing road will be returned to grassland.
It is expected that this will extend the lifespan of the coastal route by about 50 years and longer-term options will be considered once work on the new road has been completed.
Detailed designs are being finalised and the council is currently seeking a contractor with a hope of starting construction later this year.
A report prepared for cabinet also sets out the risks of not progressing the highways scheme.
According to the paper: “By not agreeing to proceed with the road realignment there is a danger to the public, this includes all aspects of the highway (road, footpath/ cycleway, and bridleway).
“By not agreeing to proceed with the realignment then there will be an economic impact in the local area [and] the loss of an A Classified Road access link will affect the communities of Whitburn and the surrounding areas.
“By not maintaining this direct access route there will be a displacement of localised traffic in the area, leading to pressures at other junctions and increasing the potential for longer journey times and therefore more congestion and a reduction in air quality.”
The meeting of the council's cabinet to debate the scheme will be held on Wednesday, March 16, from 4pm at South Shields Town Hall.