A HOTSPOT for speeding motorists in Amble has come under the spotlight, but calls for the installation of a permanent camera to tackle the problem has split town council opinion.
Coun Jeff Watson, county councillor for Amble West with Warkworth, told members of Amble Town Council that he was continuing his fight to have a permanent fixture sited at the bottom of The Wynd.
Currently a flashing speed device is based there six times a year, for six weeks at a time, but Coun Watson wants to go further.
He said: “The Wynd is an area of concern I have and I am trying to get a permanent speed camera there. For people to be prosecuted on a permanent basis is the only way speeding will be stopped. Most of the mishaps come in the evening and that is why I want to have a permanent camera there.”
Coun Watson admitted that strict criteria from the Northumbria Camera Safety Partnership (NCSP) has meant that progress to install a permanent speed camera has stalled.
But he told members that he had received support for the camera at a recent LMAPS (Local Multi-Agency Problem Solving Group) meeting, which included backing from the police, and the group has agreed to put the case forward to NCSP.
However, not every town councillor was in favour of a fixed speed camera, with Coun Rev Velda Nicholson and Sam Palin voicing their disapproval.
Coun Palin said: “The accidents that happen there, do they have anything to do with the general speed people are going? I don’t think it does.
“I think it is lads who are off their heads on drink and drugs. A camera wouldn’t stop them.”
Coun Watson hit back though, saying: “Even people who are drunk – they know where the cameras are and they will slow down for the camera. What else is more effective?”
Members voted five to three in favour of writing a letter of support to NCSP for a fixed camera, with Coun Ian Hinson abstaining from the decision.
But, the discussion took another twist when Coun Watson said that he understood that a roundabout was to be positioned along Rotary Way, between Warkworth and Amble, as part of the Tesco development, which he said ‘would make a considerable difference’.
Coun Palin added: “If we get a roundabout then you don’t need a camera.”
Clerk Elaine Brown will now write to NCSP, saying that traffic management of some kind is needed at The Wynd, preferably a permanent speed camera.
Mayor of Amble Coun Leslie Bilboe said: “I think we are doing our job as a council if we can do anything to prevent speeding.”
However, after the meeting, a Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said a roundabout would not be installed.
She said: “There are no plans for a roundabout. There will be a right turn lane put in which will mean winding the road slightly.”