Roundabout scheme is ‘stupid’

The roundabout near the Oaks Hotel in Alnwick.
Picture Jane Coltman
The roundabout near the Oaks Hotel in Alnwick. Picture Jane Coltman

Safety concerns have been raised about a new zebra crossing and roundabout alterations in Alnwick, with critics branding it stupid and an accident waiting to happen.

But the re-worked layout by The Oaks Hotel has been defended by local councillors, saying it has been designed in accordance with national standards.

The scheme has involved junction narrowing and installing a crossing nearby on South Road.

It is part of attempts to make areas of Alnwick more pedestrian friendly and develop safer walking routes to school for children and parents, especially in the wake of the relocation of the town’s high school.

However, a string of negative comments have been left on social media, with people fearing the zebra crossing is too close to the roundabout and others criticising the new narrow junction.

On Facebook, Simon Jobson posted: ‘I give it one week before someone is knocked down on that zebra crossing.’

Lorraine Taylor said: ‘Can’t wait to see what happens when two HGVs meet on this stupid roundabout’, while Wendy Auld said: ‘Unbelievable. It is an accident waiting to happen.’

But Alnwick’s town and county councillor Gordon Castle has defended the scheme.

He said that the revised design follows talks involving Alnwick’s town and county councillors, members of the Sustainable Transport Working Group (STWG) and county council highways officers.

He said: “The roundabout is designed in accordance with national standards, which requires zebra crossings to be sited as close to the roundabout access point as this one has been, because this is where vehicle speeds are at their slowest.

“Having already twice observed traffic flow round the new roundabout at busy periods – without the crossing in operation – I saw no signs of impeded traffic flow, but we do need to survey the traffic and usage when everything is complete.

“It has been subject to a safety audit. We need to see how it settles down in use.”

STWG chairman Martin Swinbank said: “This site was identified as a priority for improving pedestrian crossing and traffic safety for all road users. The result should mean that pedestrians can safely cross the road at the zebra crossing and that traffic flows on the roundabout are optimised and conflicting and potentially dangerous movements are reduced.”

A county-council spokeswoman said: “This complies with all relevant guidance, including being the approved distance from a roundabout and give-way line. The layout of the approach roads and the roundabout itself have been amended to slow traffic down.

“Signs will be erected to advise motorists of the new road layout.”