More than 120 people have signed a petition calling for a 20mph limit through Ellington to tackle ongoing concerns over speeding.
However, Northumberland County Council officers do not feel that a reduced limit alone would be effective in slowing down drivers.
The petition, submitted to the council before Christmas, stated that residents ‘are greatly concerned over constant speeding by vehicles through Ellington village from the A1068 roundabout along Front Street onto Lynemouth Road to the Wayside Point development’.
Speed cushions were introduced in 2002, on the back of a fatal accident in 1997, however, these were removed 10 years later after complaints from residents.
These were replaced by two chicane features on Lynemouth Road, while red strips were provided where the cushions had been on Front Street, and two interactive signs installed.
But as Coun Liz Dunn, the area’s ward councillor, explained at the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council last Monday (March 11): “Residents are dissatisfied with the current layout and design which they consider ineffective and unsafe.
“We must find a sustainable solution that’s suitable to residents and not just officers.”
The lead petitioner added: “All the people want to do is access their homes and cross the road safely in Ellington.”
The report explained that a 20mph limit is not supported by council officers, as ‘it is unlikely to be effective in slowing drivers down unless it were implemented in conjunction with additional physical traffic-calming measures – and the use of physical measures is not supported by the petitioner’.
Neil Snowdon, the council’s principal programme officer, told the meeting: “What we have found in some places with wide roads is that it’s so slow that people get impatient and you get people overtaking. The thing that’s going to slow people down is physical measures.”
But Coun Dunn had addressed this earlier, saying: “It’s a busy road, often congested and I can’t really see that overtaking by impatient drivers would be a problem here, as it says in the report.”
The other complication is that while residents feel the 30mph limit is often ignored, the current traffic speeds along this stretch are not high enough to warrant enforcement by the police.
The most recent surveys carried out on Front Street and Lynemouth Road showed average speeds in both directions of under 30mph, although the highest recorded were between 40 and 50mph.
“Statistics do nothing to alleviate residents’ concerns,” Coun Dunn said.
The petitioner also pointed out that the results were affected by the positions and times of the speed surveys, with the Front Street one taking place in the school holidays and the Lynemouth Road results being diluted by vehicles coming out of the Cresswell Road T-junction at slow speeds.
Members agreed that officers should work with Coun Dunn and the parish council to try to find a way forward, while Mr Snowdon said that public drop-in events could be held to try to collect more views.
At last Wednesday’s (March 13) meeting of the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Council, a petition had been received over concerns about speeding on Latimer Way in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, with calls for traffic-calming measures.
Members agreed that speed surveys are carried out to assess the actual speed of vehicles.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service