Landslide road will not re-open for a year

Cllr Steven Bridgett at the landslip near Rothbury.
Cllr Steven Bridgett at the landslip near Rothbury.

A road closed by a landslide at Christmas will not re-open this year – and will cost residents and visitors an extra £2.1million.

The damage on the B6344 between Rothbury and Weldon Bridge is so severe that the road is still moving and surveyors have refused to go near it.

Northumberland County Council engineers are trying to investigate the problems and potential solutions but because access is so dangerous, little is able to be done.

Speaking at Rothbury Parish Council last week, the county’s bridges manager Simon Rudman said: “It has gradually got worse and worse and is quite a significant size. At the moment, it is still moving two to five centimetres a day from the top.

“We had a team of surveyors at part of the site but they have now refused to set foot on it. It is far too dangerous and a lot of the area is like quicksand.

“There is just nowhere to put people. We are kind of stuck at the moment as to what we can do.

“I appreciate how difficult it is for people, but with regards to timescale it is virtually impossible to know how long work is going to take.

“I’m fairly sure that it is not going to be re-opened this calendar year but when, in the following year, we just don’t know.”

Parish council chairmanCoun Jeff Reynalds added: “I have heard that it could be up to 18 months before it re-opens.”

And the diversion put in place is going to hit the pockets of Coquetdale’s motorists.

Figures from the AA have shown that the four-mile route will cost drivers an extra £2.1million over a year and add an extra 131,000 hours on to driving times.

County councillor for the area Steven Bridgett said: “We are putting forward the econimic case, the community case, everything we can to try to get this sorted.

“But it is the people of Coquetdale that will be affected the most by this. However, we ask that residents and businesses alike cooperate with us as we try to find a solution.”

Traders in the village are keen for people to know that it is open for business as normal.

However, some say that they are already seeing a negative effect and with the summer season yet to start, the true impact on trade is still to be realised.

And they say signage about the closure on the A697 could be improved.

Loraine Lawson, owner of Coccuveda on Bridge Street, said: “The local councillor has been good in keeping us up-to-date with information but it is definitely affecting trade. It is half-term now and while there are visitors in Rothbury,