Route through Alnwick Infirmary closed on safety grounds

A shortcut through Alnwick Infirmary’s grounds has been closed off for safety reasons.

Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 3:01 pm

A gate has been installed to prevent access from the Fisher Lane side of the hospital, previously used as a route to and from the Allerburn Lea area of the town.

However, the move has been criticised on social media with some claiming the route is a public right of way.

A hospital spokesperson explained: “Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has had concerns for some time about health and safety risks related to access and vehicles at the Alnwick Infirmary site, particularly in relation to the road into the delivery/service yard area.

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Alnwick Infirmary.

“A number of steps have been implemented to improve this, through the introduction of signage, lines and marked bays, but the trust continued to have concerns about the number of people using the road past the service yard to get onto Fisher Lane for access to Allerburn Lea and other residential areas.

“This has increased since the town’s bike track has opened, which has meant more young people on bikes and scooters using the route, and more housing development is taking place in the area.

“The route is not a public right of way and given its use by large delivery lorries and refuse wagons, plus skip and contractors’ vehicles, the trust has taken the decision to erect gates to prevent it being used as a through route to ensure public safety and avoid any future accidents. A gate has been erected in preference to a fence to allow access for emergency vehicles if required.

“The possibility of installing a path to allow public access was considered, but the road is not wide enough to accommodate large vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists.”

Meanwhile, the trust has announced that the ward at the Infirmary will reopen towards the end of this month, following a closure for urgent building works.

The project ensures that the building is properly ventilated, has en-suite facilities and areas that can be used to better manage the pandemic, following a review by infection prevention control experts. Improvements to outpatient facilities have also taken place.