Call to action on pavements

ACTION is being demanded to tackle dangerous footpaths throughout Morpeth town centre.

The problem pavements have been identified by town councillor Alison Byard after she was initially alerted to the hazard by a local pensioner.

After raising the issue at Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee last month, she offered to carry out a full survey of the town centre footways and has found dozens in need of repair.

“I found an awful lot, including a couple that were a definite trip hazard, particularly those in the middle of the pavement,” she said.

“I think a visually impaired person, or an elderly person could easily trip over them.”

Coun Byard told members this month that Northumberland County Council is aware of the problem and has said it plans to schedule repair work for next year.

But the town council will write to the county’s Director of Local Services calling for the repairs to be done as quickly as possible.

Coun David Clark said: “As I was walking up the street to come to the council meeting I must have seen half a dozen bad pavements. There are some that are wobbly and spurt water up your leg.”

Coun Nic Best said: “The problem is normally cracked paving stones rather than uneven ones because it is largely due to vehicles parking on the pavement.

“Unless that is controlled there is no point in repairing them because I have seen cases where pavements have been repaired and within a week they are cracked again. Unless enforcement officers can stop people parking on the pavements it will happen.”

The council has also urged highways officers to make improvements to the Buller’s Green and Dogger Bank junction as pedestrians are at risk from passing vehicles.

Coun Best said: “On the pavement going towards Buller’s Green the traffic comes on to the pavement because of the tight junction to the point where pedestrians are being squeezed against the wall.

“There is a significant danger of injury and it is a real hazard. There needs to be some sort of improvement to that junction so people can walk on the pavement safely.

“It needs some sort of road markings to indicate priority. It might delay traffic, but if it stops people being killed the balance is in favour.”

Coun Bob Robertson added: “You take your life in your hands crossing the road up there.”

Coun Stuart Lishman said: “I worry about the amount of schoolchildren there. This junction has been a problem for time immemorial.”