ACCESS: Recognising concerns

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During the summer, public meetings were held to discuss turning Fisher Lane into an access track to the proposed mountain bike park that is to be built close to the sewage works.

Residents expressed concerns over the plans, particularly the safety aspect. Fisher Lane is too narrow to be used by both pedestrians and cyclists. It has a hard surface that would encourage speed on the part of cyclists and has a number of blind corners and inclines. The lane is often used by people on disability scooters, walkers with dogs and mothers with pushchairs and toddlers.

Present at the meeting were county councillors Heather Cairns, Gordon Castle and Kate Cairns.

The concerns of the residents were not accepted by the three councillors who put forward suggestions of slaloms to reduce the speed of cyclists and painted lines in the middle of the lane to separate pedestrians from cyclists. Residents did not feel that these solutions would work and that the safety issues had not been addressed adequately.

It was interesting, therefore, to attend the Area Committee - North meeting held on November 10.

At this meeting, a discussion took place in relation to the cycle path between Alnmouth and Warkworth. Present at that meeting were the three councillors mentioned.

‘The lesson must be learned that it may not be appropriate to have cyclists and walkers on the same route’ said Coun Heather Cairns, to which Coun Castle added ‘I wouldn’t encourage pedestrians to use cycle paths.’

Coun Kate Cairns, a strong supporter of the Fisher Lane project, said ‘It may not be appropriate for cyclists to go quickly’ as she explained that hard surfaces encouraged speed.

I’m glad that they now appear to recognise the worries of the residents of Allerburn Lea who use Fisher Lane as access to the two surgeries and infirmary as well as a route to the town centre.

Can we now expect to hear the three councillors repeat those concerns in relation to Fisher Lane? Will they now withdraw their support for this aspect of the bike park project?

In the words of Peter Simple from that estimable column Way of the World in the Daily Telegraph that many of your readers will remember: ‘I only ask, because I want to know.’

Nigel Coghill-Marshall,

Ukip Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Berwick