A Darlington family was shocked to see its house of 50 years missing from council plans to redevelop a roundabout near the A68 in Cockerton.
The artist's impression instead showed a newly widened four lanes approaching the roundabout flanked by a pavement and cycle path, the latter in the exact place where the Austin's council-owned home currently sits.
Under the plans the single lane on the left of the picture (below) would be widened to make room for a second, and a new shared-use-style path would be added to the right-hand side.
Lesley Austin told the Northern Echo they only realised their house was to be demolished when a friend sent a screenshot of the artist's impression.
In their interview with the local news outlet the family promised to "fight tooth and nail" to keep their home, but did not blame the new cycle path for the planned demolition.
This has not stopped the Metro running the story under the headline 'Family home could be demolished to make way for cycle path'.
Instead, Mrs Austin questioned the need to restructure the roundabout and road network, saying: "We never have a backlog of traffic at all unless there’s an accident. We purposely stand in the garden now to watch it and it flows.
"There isn’t a need for this and people are all of the same opinion: it’s not going to make any difference."
Mrs Austin is a private healthcare assistant and said the house's ideal location allows her to walk to work, something she would be unable to do if the council succeeds in moving the family to a property "at the other end of town".
"I’m not moving at my own free will here. It’s a big, quirky old house and I’m going to have to get rid of things that mean a lot to me," she continued.
"I don’t want to lose it and I will fight tooth and nail to keep it but I think it’s a case of it already being passed and they’re just waiting for funding."
The roundabout redevelopment is part of a wider proposal to redesign existing mini roundabouts around the A68.
Darlington Council insists multiple alternative properties have been offered to the family and that meetings and discussions are ongoing.
"The decision to demolish a residential building is never taken lightly," Councillor Andy Keir said.
"The constraints on space available in this area mean that if the proposed designs do go ahead, it will be necessary on this occasion.
"We are mindful that the tenant is being asked to vacate their long-term home, however a number of suitable alternatives have been offered – discussions which were initially progressing positively."
However, Mrs Austin said the news had taken a "huge toll" on the family.
"We could have left this property years ago but we choose to live in this area. It’s close to work for me, close to the roads. I don’t want to move out of the area. The kids struggle with not knowing about the future.
"It has and it is taking a huge toll on all four of us in different ways. I am part boxed up and ready to move. I have had to de-home my home. It’s not a home anymore it’s a house."
I don't usually reply to people making stupid comments, but for the benefit of others I should point out that it's the police who are concerned...
Wait?! Are you suggesting there is specific cycling media for each party that I'm missing (like news outlets)?...
I'd say this is only tangentially related to cycling – the fact that it happened to someone on a bike is just chance. It's more a policing story.
Thanks for the link. I love watching Dudley Moore trying not to laugh.
And less than a plurality of brain cells.
Unfortunately this sounds like multiple factors combining:...
I've got a 2020 Scultura 7000e which cost £3,000 (slightly reduced) and came with Shimano Ultegra Di2. It's a fabulous bike - especially now with a...
The most common cause of fatal collisions in Norfolk in 2022 was loss of control (26%), closely followed by failing to look properly (21%).
Once again Rendel you miss the point spectacularly....
They'll never solve those roads with this bridge, it just gets you round the wet dock across the lock gates, they need another bridge to get across...