Speed reduction criticised

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

A proposal to lower the speed limit on sections of the A697 has come under fire by Gazette readers, who have branded it a knee-jerk reaction and fear it will make some drivers more aggressive.

Meanwhile, online followers of the paper have reiterated the call for the A1 to be dualled, following the death of a pensioner just days before Christmas.

Earlier this month, we reported that some of the 60mph stretches on the A697 could be reduced to 50mph in a bid to improve its safety record.

Coun Glen Sanderson, who has been campaigning to reduce the number of accidents since a string of crashes – some fatal, in 2012 – said that the newly-formed A697 Action Group was looking at several options.

He told the Gazette that initial work by engineers suggested that a lowering of the speed limit to 50mph might be considered.

But this has prompted reaction from readers who are critical of such a move.

On our Facebook page, Claire Hunter, who used to go to Morpeth’s King Edward VI School and now lives in South Australia, wrote: “It’s not necessarily speed, more like distractions and inattention to the roads and others. They’ve slowed roads here in SA to 50miles/hr. Doesn’t stop crashes because people get impatient and take risks.”

On our website, Pottedhistory said: “Enforcing the speed limit that already exists would be a better plan than lowering the limit.

“It would not deter bad drivers, the speeders will only become more aggressive.”

Coun Sanderson has also requested mobile speed cameras be deployed along the road.

Just before Christmas, Conservative candidate for Berwick, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, vowed to continue the fight for A1 dualling after 81-year-old Margaret Hilda Foley, of South Shields, was killed on the single carriageway stretch, near Berwick.

On our website, Tlc8903 described the A1 as a ‘death road’ and added: ‘Kids I went to school with have lost love ones on this road. Every single motorist should refuse to buy road tax for their vehicle.’