Wall plans fail to ease residents’ road safety fears

ROAD safety concerns should be a prime consideration in a decision on a Morpeth apartment scheme, opponents say.

A planning hearing into the McCarthy and Stone plans for 51 flats off Cottingwood Lane heard that the height of the wall next to the entrance of the proposed development will be reduced to ensure people and drivers can see each other.

However, there was a dispute over the exact reduction and residents were concerned that the nature of the corner would still cause problems for pedestrians.

Action Group member Les Cassie said: “A frail elderly person coming out of the relatively blind entrance will be half-way across the road before they see the car coming towards them, which I think is staggeringly dangerous.”

Fairhurst Technical Director Andrew Dmoch, a consultant commissioned by the council to help defend its refusal decision, said he was also concerned about the lack of protection for pedestrians on the corner.

“An essential concern is pedestrian safety at that location. The biggest issue is there is no interaction with a new footway and the existing footway network at that site. I have worked over 20 years on developments and this is something I haven’t seen before,” he said.

Neil Appleton, representing McCarthy and Stone, said the changes to the wall would allow drivers to see people crossing the road from a suitable distance away and they could slow down accordingly.

He added: “There are relatively small numbers of pedestrians and there is an area for them to stand before they cross over. They can come down the footpath, stand and look both ways. Coming back it is better visibility still.”

Objectors were also concerned that lowering the wall could damage trees, but the applicant disagreed.