Call for action

Councillor Glen Sanderson on the A697 at the Fieldhead junction.
Councillor Glen Sanderson on the A697 at the Fieldhead junction.

A spate of serious accidents on the A697 in the space of nine days has prompted a call for action from Coun Glen Sanderson.

Two men died at the end of June in separate crashes, with one fatal collision near Linden Hall, and the other at Heighley Gate.

Then, last Wednesday, four vehicles were involved in a smash at the Fieldhead junction, near Longhorsley.

All three accidents have occurred on the same stretch of the road and Coun Glen Sanderson, whose Chevington with Longhorsley ward covers the south of the road, is pushing for the A697 to come under closer scrutiny.

“I want to try to raise the profile of the A697 again and give it more attention,” he said.

“I have had continuing complaints from a lot of people about the speed of traffic and there have been very serious accidents recently, although I wouldn’t want to pre-judge the reasons why these happened.”

He added that while the entire length of the road was important, the stretch where the three accidents happened, which lies in his ward, is a ‘sensitive’ area.

Coun Sanderson is to meet staff from Northumberland County Council’s highways and road safety teams today to discuss the issue.

He said: “I will be requesting that we fully investigate data on the amount of traffic using that road, what type of traffic it is and the speed of traffic.

“If there isn’t up-to-date information, then I will request that monitoring takes place.

“We need to treat the A697 as an important road.”

Coun Sanderson also believes that the current issues on the A697 reinforce the long-standing campaign to dual the A1.

He said: “The A697 tends not to hit the headlines much but more vehicles are using it.

“It makes the dualling of the A1 even more important as it would remove a lot of the traffic on the A697.

“The lack of dualling the A1 is largely the culprit here.”