Call for action after road crash

CONCERNED residents have called for action after a tractor’s trailer overturned to cause traffic chaos in Morpeth.

A New Holland vehicle carrying bales of hay was heading into town on Friday when it turned on its side coming out of Pottery Bank into Newgate Street just before 2pm.

A car is squashed under bales after the accident on Newgate Street, Morpeth. Picture by Steve Miller

A car is squashed under bales after the accident on Newgate Street, Morpeth. Picture by Steve Miller

A few parked cars were hit and badly damaged in the incident and the front end of a Ford Ranger pick-up truck was crushed under one of the bales. The driver was able to get out of his vehicle before a fire service rescue crew arrived.

No one was seriously injured but the road was closed between the junction with Dogger Bank and the junction with Manchester Street for seven hours while investigation and recovery works were carried out.

People living in the area say they are worried for themselves and their properties as this followed another tractor skidding to a halt in the same area a few weeks ago.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We heard an extremely loud noise and we immediately stopped what we were doing to see what was happening.

“The tractor’s trailer had gone over, bales of hay were on the road and one of them hit a blue pick-up. It looked horrendous and thankfully no one was badly injured.

“This is the second time that police have had to close a section of the road because of an incident like this in recent weeks and action needs to be taken. If it happens again, a pedestrian could be knocked over and our homes could end up being damaged.

“We notice many vehicles speeding down Pottery Bank into Newgate Street, even though it is a dangerous bend.

“We think the council should take some measures to help slow down traffic, rumble strips for example. A warning sign would also be useful.”

In 2009, Pottery Bank resident Maureen Davison started a campaign to improve the safety of the road near her home after a van crashed into it, causing massive structural damage and narrowly missing a gas pipe.

A series of minor accidents followed in the next few months and neighbours reported that similar incidents had taken place on a number of previous occasions.

After taking the matter to town and county councillors, Mrs Davison secured extra warning signage, ‘SLOW’ markings and anti-skid surfacing for the area.

She said: “Despite the additional road signage since my home was impacted in 2009, there are continuing problems with speeding vehicles of all types down Pottery Bank into Bullers Green.

“I was told whilst campaigning for greater road safety measures, that no traffic calming could be introduced due to the main thoroughfare nature of this road. In 2010 a speed-sensitive flashing 30 sign was briefly in place at Bullers Green, then disappeared. Meanwhile, there have been other impacts to property and parked vehicles from out-of-control vehicles.

“Unfortunately, true accident figures for the area are masked by a recording system triggered only by fatality or hospitalisation and this latest incident brings to 14 that I know of within the past four years, in excess of that recorded at County Hall.

“Road safety is a major concern here — residents I’ve spoken to all say they’re living in fear of serious injury or worse.”

There is no suggestion that the vehicle involved in the latest incident was speeding.