Parents and children ‘run the gauntlet’ on busy road

Joao Parreira and Rachael Hogg at the entrance to the South Fields development in Stobhill, Morpeth.
 Picture by Jane Coltman
Joao Parreira and Rachael Hogg at the entrance to the South Fields development in Stobhill, Morpeth. Picture by Jane Coltman

Councillors are calling on a housebuilder to resolve a ‘dangerous’ situation as soon as possible for residents at a new estate in Morpeth who have children at Stobhillgate First School.

Families have been living in the first phase of Barratt Homes North East’s South Fields development between Stobhill and Hepscott for a number of months.

But while there are plans in place to install a pedestrian crossing on the A196 as part of the highways improvements associated with the planning approval, it has yet to be constructed.

This means that even though South Fields is close to the school, parents and their children have to go to the main entrance of the estate and then walk across both carriageways of the A196 in order to get to the school grounds.

One such parent is Morpeth town councillor Rachael Hogg. Her daughter is in Year 2 at the school.

She said: “When we get to the entrance by the A196, we have to look out for traffic going both ways and cars leaving the estate before we can cross the road.

“It’s very dangerous and we feel like we have to run the gauntlet each school morning.

“Action needs to be taken as soon as possible for the safety of pedestrians.

“A few crossings are part of the requirements, but even if one could be built imminently that would be very helpful.

“None of us facing this situation would mind walking a bit further to go to a safe crossing.”

The new homes are in the ward of Coun Glen Sanderson, a Northumberland County Council cabinet member.

He said: “Since work started on the development, discussions have taken place with Barratt Homes North East on implementing highways works – including pedestrian crossings.

“Given where we are now with the estate, I’m disappointed that a contractor hasn’t been appointed to carry out the works.

“I’m very concerned about the potential dangers for South Fields residents of crossing this road.

“It’s only right that the housebuilder should fulfil its planning obligations as quickly as possible.”

He added that he is looking to re-establish the liaison meetings with the company to discuss this and other issues at the site.

A Barratt Homes spokesman said: “We have entered into an agreement with Northumberland County Council to install a pedestrian crossing on the A196 as part of the highway improvement to the entrance of the development.

“The plans have been approved and we are currently planning to start the works at the earliest opportunity.

“We will need to agree a date with the council to progress in line with the programme of other, planned works on public highways in the area.

“We will be commencing with the works as soon as we receive instruction in order to assist residents and local pedestrians.”