Fears voiced after near misses on road

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Urgent action is required to prevent ‘an accident waiting to happen’ at a road on the edge of Morpeth, it has been claimed.

The issue has been raised by Stobhill Manor resident Stephen Paynter as he has witnessed quite a few near misses involving children crossing the A192 after going through gaps in a nearby hedge.

The road immediately next to the roundabout in the area is 30mph, but changes to 60mph for a brief stretch before a 40mph limit is applied.

There are two bus stops opposite each other by the road that people from Stobhill Manor use and although they are close to the 30mph zone, they are both in the 60mph section.

A new traffic calming measure is set to be installed soon further along the road towards Hepscott and Mr Paynter hopes something is done by the bus stops as soon as possible.

He said: “Children are using gaps in the hawthorn bushes from within Stobhill Manor to cross the A192, as it’s quicker to go through them than walk through the estate.

“They then walk on a grass verge and pop through the hedge.

“They will obviously look to cross when they think it is safe to do so, but they are going onto the section of road where traffic is travelling at 60mph, or even faster in some cases, and I have witnessed several near accidents this year.

“Now the dark nights are here, a serious accident will happen unless something is done soon.

“The council could extend the 30mph zone until the 40mph section along the road, or at the very least it should change the national speed limit (60mph) zone to 40mph.

“I have spoken to Morpeth Stobhill county councillor Ian Lindley and been in contact with officers at County Hall. I was told that the issue can’t be resolved by a quick fix, but I have stressed the need for urgent action.

“I also think a traffic island in the middle of the road where the bus stops are would be helpful.”

Coun Lindley said this is one of the areas he is looking into with the county council’s highways department, although the lack of accident data for it makes it more difficult to carry out relevant tests.

He added: “I’m working with officers to try and find a way around this and potentially we can use the upcoming development (396 properties will be built on agricultural land between Stobhill and Heps-cott) to bring in new measures.

“One of the options to make this section of road safer to cross is a civilised design concept – visual measures that have a psychological impact on drivers’ behaviour. An example is the red crossing design that was in place for a period at Deuchar Park.”

Morpeth Town Council has asked Coun Lindley to present his ideas at a forthcoming meeting of its planning and transport committee.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “We are aware of the issues raised and are currently looking at possible solutions.”

Coun Glen Sanderson’s Longhorsley ward includes the Hepscott area and he said new interactive traffic signs at Barmoor Bank will hopefully be installed in the next four to six weeks, weather permitting.

“I’ve allocated £10,000 from my members’ small scheme allowance for this because it’s an important issue that has been raised with me since I took on responsibility for the area two years ago,” he added.

“I would support any traffic calming measures to be introduced on the stretch of A192 by the bus stops.”