Photo of gritters

New facilities for key council depot

Funding has been agreed to upgrade the facilities at a key council highways depot. 
Bearl Depot, near Bywell, is just off the main A69 and is one of the key operational bases from which the Council delivers its winter gritting and road repair and improvement activities in the west of the county. 
Gritting routes which run from the depot include parts of the A69, A68, A695 and the B6318 ‘Military’ Road.    
A previous building on the site was badly damaged in high winds and had to be demolished in December 2018.  
Northumberland County Council has been waiting to secure a new lease on the site, and now that this has been agreed, a project to develop new buildings can be progressed. 
The highways team needs a secure covered area for garaging vehicles, particularly during the winter when staff have to change ploughs, carry out maintenance and undertake running repairs required to gritters during harsh winter weather conditions.   
Welfare and office facilities for staff are currently within old portacabins that have reached the end of their useful life, and so these will be replaced as part of the project, to provide fit for purpose modern facilities for staff.     
Councillor Glen Sanderson, leader of council and cabinet member responsible for highways at Northumberland County Council said: “Having good quality equipment and facilities to store and repair it, when required, are essential in order for our highways teams to carry out their work. 
“Bearl is a key depot in the west of the county, servicing important gritting routes and housing the teams that undertake pothole and other road repairs. 
“This important project will provide storage and maintenance areas for vehicles, as well as new welfare facilities and offices for staff which will support highway services for many years to come.” 
The council’s cabinet agreed a £540,000 improvement project which, as well as providing these buildings, will improve the surface and foul water drainage systems at the depot.  
The funding for the project will come from the Property Stewardship Fund within the Council’s 2021/22 Medium Term Financial Plan and forms part of a major investment programme of depot improvements being planned by the Council, which will also see significant investment at its Tyne Mills Depot in Hexham and Cowley Road Depot in Blyth over the next two years.   
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