‘An accident in waiting’

Dave Herne's photo of a bus negotiating the roundabout in Morpeth.
Dave Herne's photo of a bus negotiating the roundabout in Morpeth.

A NEWLY-INSTALLED roundabout in Morpeth has been described by a councillor as an ‘accident waiting to happen’.

The facility was put in place last month by Tolent on behalf of Dransfield Properties as part of works linked with the new Morrisons supermarket in Low Stanners.

But concerns have been raised by Morpeth town councillor Dave Herne after noticing that although the previous roundabout’s painted circle has been burnt off the road, all the painted arrows and Give Way markings have yet to be removed.

He has also raised the tighter turn for vehicles going right from Stanley Terrace to Damside, saying they are having to drive over and beyond the Give Way markings at the Dark Lane entrance of the roundabout.

The old markings will be burnt off and new ones put in place following re-surfacing works in the near future that will require the road to be closed.

However Coun Herne, who works as a bus driver, is worried about what could happen before then.

“I have been informed by at least 10 people of their concerns about the safety and road conditions of the new roundabout at the Stanley Terrace junction with Dark Lane, Damside and Staithes Lane,” he said.

“I’m not sure whether it is Northumberland County Council’s highways department or Dransfield’s workers that have left the new roundabout in such a confusing and dangerous state for such a length of time at such a busy time of year.

“Considering the distance the new raised roundabout has been moved and so close to the previous Give Way markings, in my opinion it is an accident waiting to happen.

“The new position forces buses and lorries turning right from Stanley Terrace to Damside to use even more of Dark Lane to get their rear wheels around and go on a temporary road surface at the top of Staithes Lane.

“The town’s narrow road network suits painted roundabouts and not raised roundabouts or traffic lights.”

Under the works programme, Staithes Lane is currently being widened to accommodate extra traffic, a new car park is being built and there will be some landscaping close to the junction, which will include trees and a fountain.

Construction of the supermarket buildings is set to be completed soon so Morrisons can fit out its new store in time for a Spring opening.

Amanda Holmes from Dransfield Properties said: “Work is still on-going and our contractors Tolent have painted over the old road markings as a short-term measure ahead of the road being re-surfaced.

“Burning off the old markings would require closing the road and we have sought to minimise disruption throughout the Christmas shopping period.

“The team at Tolent are back on site on Monday and the road will be closed when resurfacing work starts on January 14. New road markings will then be applied when the road has been re-surfaced later in the month.”

A council spokesman said: “We are monitoring this work and the agreed programme of interim signage during construction of the new road layout and mini roundabout. We are not aware of other complaints about the current turning area being too narrow.”