THREE new road signs, directing southbound traffic to Alnwick, mysteriously appeared alongside the A1 this week.
No one has admitted responsibility for the signs which have been erected on farmland without the permission of the Department of Transport.
However the Gazette can reveal that a number of disgruntled traders pooled their resources to erect them in a bid to boost dwindling trade in the town.
There has been a noticeable drop in trade since the Alnwick bypass was completed and despite requests to the county council for additional signposting nothing has been done.
The signs, which begin more than five miles north of Alnwick also direct traffic down the old A1 from the South Charlton turn-off. It is felt that this will benefit trade at Alnwick Castle and businesses in the north-west of the town as well as congestion in Denwick Lane and at the War Memorial junction.
A spokesman for the County Highways Department, which acts as agent for the Department of Transport, said they were duty-bound to make arrangements to have the unauthorised signs removed.
“People just cannot erect signs on highways as they wish,” said the spokesman.
However, Alnwick Chamber of Trade, which was not involved with the signs as a body, welcomed the initiative.