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50-year-old family home is demolished for a BIKE PATH as a couple talks about their horror

A 50-year-old family home is being demolished to make way for a new cycle path.

The town’s home on Carmel Road North in Darlington, County Durham, has been part of the Lesley Austin family for 49 years, housing three distinct generations.

But it will be torn down if the Darlington Borough Council approves plans to redevelop the A68 in the nearby Cockerton area.

A family has expressed their horror after learning their nearly half-century house will be demolished to make way for a new bike path

A family has expressed their horror after learning their nearly half-century house will be demolished to make way for a new bike path

Ms Austin, 47, said her husband Richie, 52, and two children realized their home would be demolished after it disappeared from an artist’s impression of the council’s plans released this week.

The thought of losing their home “takes a huge toll” on the family, but the rebellious residents have vowed to “fight tooth and nail” to keep it.

“I really don’t understand why demolishing a house and changing the road will make any difference,” said Ms. Austin.

‘I don’t move here of my own free will. It’s a big, quirky old house and I have to get rid of things that mean a lot to me.

“I don’t want to lose it and I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep it, but I think it’s a case that it’s already been passed and they’re just waiting for funding.”

Ms Austin said neighbors had heard rumors of the plans for about two years but were still shocked when the council pushed ahead and released its controversial proposal.

She said: ‘It was difficult when my friend sent me a screenshot of the artist’s impression. It really touched me, because it was the first time we didn’t see the house on the corner.’

The town's home on Carmel Road North in Darlington, County Durham, has been part of Lesley Austin's family for 49 years

The town’s home on Carmel Road North in Darlington, County Durham, has been part of Lesley Austin’s family for 49 years

It will be demolished if Darlington Borough Council approves plans to redevelop the A68 in the nearby Cockerton area

It will be demolished if Darlington Borough Council approves plans to redevelop the A68 in the nearby Cockerton area

The plans would include the redesign of the existing mini roundabouts on the A68 in Cockerton and at the western end of Woodland Road, as well as the nearby roundabout connecting Woodland Road to Carmel Road North and Staindrop Road.

But the Austin family says the road remodeling isn’t necessary.

“We are never behind in traffic unless there has been an accident. We’re purposely standing in the yard now to watch it and it’s flowing,” Mrs. Austin said.

‘There’s no need for that and everyone agrees: it doesn’t matter.

“The real problem is West Auckland Road. I’ve lived here long enough to know when an accident happens on the highway because the traffic changes.’

Ms Austin, a private health assistant, said the home’s convenient location means she can walk to work in minutes — but that would stop if she had to leave.

She added: “The municipality is trying to send us to the other side of town with the houses they have offered.

“We could have left this property years ago, but we chose to live in this area.

It’s close to work for me, close to the roads.

“I don’t want to leave the area. The children struggle with not knowing about the future.

The plans would include the refurbishment of the existing mini roundabouts on the A68 in Cockerton

The plans would include the refurbishment of the existing mini roundabouts on the A68 in Cockerton

“It has and is taking a huge toll on all four of us in various ways.”

For now, the family is bracing for the day when the bad news comes.

“I’m partially packed and ready to move,” Mrs. Austin said. ‘I had to vacate my house. It’s not a house anymore, it’s a house.’

Darlington Council said a number of ‘suitable’ alternative social housing has been offered to the Austin family.

Councilor Andy Keir, Cabinet Member for Local Services: ‘Although these proposals are at an early stage, we have already had a number of meetings and discussions with the tenant of the (municipal property) property.

‘The decision to demolish a residential building is never taken lightly, but the limited space available in this area means that if the proposed designs go through, it will be necessary on this occasion.

‘We are aware that the tenant will be asked to vacate their property for the long term, but a number of suitable alternatives have been offered – discussions which were initially positive.

‘We are committed to working with the tenant in a positive way. The wider public consultation is open until 11 February and I would encourage anyone with an opinion to email localtransportplan@darlington.gov.uk.”

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