Concerns over impact of new cycle path in Morpeth

David Mash, left, and Coun John Beynon by part of the cycle path and the relocated bus stop that is causing concern.  Picture by Jane Coltman.
David Mash, left, and Coun John Beynon by part of the cycle path and the relocated bus stop that is causing concern. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Dozens of residents in the Stobhill area of Morpeth are up in arms over the impact of a new cycle path.

As well as saying the money could have been better spent on other works or projects and being unhappy about a ‘lack of consultation’, they have also raised concerns about the new position of the bus stop and shelter on the side of the A192 heading into the town centre shortly after the turn off for Grange Road.

A cyclist on the new path in Stobhill. Picture by Jane Coltman.

A cyclist on the new path in Stobhill. Picture by Jane Coltman.

It has been moved forward to the roadside so the cycle path can run behind it. Overnight works on phases two and three of the Northumberland County Council scheme are taking place this week between Shields Road and Castle Bank – this includes upgrading road markings.

Stobhill resident David Mash said: “Now the bus stop has been moved, there is a big build-up of traffic at times when a bus stops there and it’s an accident waiting to happen.

“If any vehicles try to go around the bus, they have to go on the other side of the road because of the nearby traffic island and this would put them at risk of hitting on-coming traffic.

“The scheme is a waste of money. It would have been better spent on improving the footpaths across the Stobhill area.”

Ashley Shute, who also lives in the area, said: “The bus stop is now in a silly position because waiting passengers will get splashed by passing traffic when there is significant rain or snow.

“Me and my wife regularly go out dog walking and since the cycle path was constructed, we’ve only seen it being used twice.”

A notice raising concerns about the new position of the bus stop has been posted on the shelter on behalf of ‘a number of local worried passengers’.

Conservative councillor for Stobhill, John Beynon, said he has received many calls and emails from residents about the cycleway and there were none in favour of the scheme.

He added: “As well as their concerns, they are unhappy that they were not consulted.

“The officers and workers on the ground shouldn’t be blamed, those who should be blamed are the previous county councillor for Stobhill, Ian Lindley, and the former Labour administration for agreeing to go ahead with the scheme.

“Tweaks have been made since I’ve been elected, such as shaving some of the corner off the junction at Sainsbury’s to give more room for other vehicles, and we’re seeing what else we can do.”

A county council spokesman said: “The cycle scheme is part of wider work throughout the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area to improve sustainable travel options at key transport gateways.

“The approaches to Morpeth Railway Station were identified as a location where infrastructure for cyclists should be improved and the work also aims to help pedestrians and other road users on the Stobhill approach to Morpeth.

“The scheme is being implemented by the council using funding provided through the North East LEP from the Local Growth Fund. This funding was made available only for cycleway schemes and would not have been available to improve footpaths alone.

“We have received comments about the bus shelter position at the bus stop near Grange Road and whether passengers can be splashed by traffic, and we will be looking into these to establish whether any adjustments are required.”