Put the Lights Out says town signals survey

THE results are in for Morpeth’s traffic signals’ survey – and the vast majority want the lights out.

More than 2,000 responses have now been given to the questionnaire about the revamped Telford Bridge junction, with 95 per cent of respondents saying they dislike the traffic lights.

Almost as many, 93 per cent, say a roundabout would be better, and there is widespread concern about congestion, pedestrian safety and the risks to road users caused by confusion at the lights.

Half of those questioned said they were shopping in Morpeth less frequently since the signals were installed.

The survey was carried out by the Lights Out campaign group after it was suggested that the vast majority of local residents are unconcerned about the signals.

Lights Out Chairman David Towns said: “We want to thank everyone who took part in the survey for giving us their views. There was a lot of enthusiasm for it and sometimes we were almost mobbed by people on the street wanting to give their opinion.

“There were also some people who spoke to us who thought the lights were working well and their views were also taken into account and recorded.

“It is a very comprehensive and statistically reliable survey.”

The survey was printed in the Herald and forms were also available in local businesses, while Lights Out members stopped people on the streets of Morpeth over three Saturdays. There was also an online survey.

A total of 2,123 responses were received. Of those, 2,010 people said they disliked the lights, 67 were in favour of them and 46 had no view.

Of the people who disliked the signals, 95 per cent said they increased congestion, 72 per cent were concerned about the danger to pedestrians, 71 per cent thought they had increased the danger to other road users and 62 per cent said they were ugly and diminished the street scene.

A total of 1,966 people thought a roundabout would be better.

The survey was also completed by 104 taxi or bus drivers.

Again, 95 per cent disliked the lights, with four per cent in favour and one per cent with no view – 97 per cent of those against the signals were concerned about congestion, 72 per cent about pedestrian danger, 76 per cent about risks to road users and 63 per cent about the appearance.

Coun Towns said: “What we found most surprising was that 95 per cent of people dislike the lights. We expected the figure to be high, but not that high. It just shows that there is a daily problem faced by the majority of people who come over that junction.”

The campaigner says one of the biggest concerns is the change in shopping habits, with 50 per cent of Morpeth residents who responded saying they shop in the town less often than before the lights were put in, rising to 54 per cent of those from elsewhere.

Coun Towns said: “What we find very worrying are the results about shopping habits.

“Everyone agrees that Morpeth is a great town, but when you put more pressure on people for getting in they might just turn the car around and go somewhere else.”

The results of the survey have been passed to consultant Phil Jones, who has been commissioned by Northumberland County Council to conduct a review of the Morpeth traffic network.