A1 reaction: ‘Any progress is progress’

Councillor and dog owner Gordon Castle is backing the Gazette's campaign about dog mess.
Councillor and dog owner Gordon Castle is backing the Gazette's campaign about dog mess.

The reactions of councillors to the news of the A1 upgrading depends slightly on how far north their ward is – and their political persuasion.

However, all have welcomed the news, even if it doesn’t go quite as far as they would like.

County Council election.'Trevor Thorne

County Council election.'Trevor Thorne

Alnwick councillor Gordon Castle said: “I am very pleased indeed that the Government has made this announcement, a commitment I am sure they will keep to and one I hope that any other government will respect and cherish.

“I too wish that finance had been available for the whole stretch, but what has been committed is well spent in the most difficult and heavily-used parts, aiding the local economy and improving road safety. I can appreciate the disappointment for Berwick, but this does not justify some of the social media comments that seem unwilling to concede a good word for the scheme.”

Coun Trevor Thorne, who represents Shilbottle, said: “I am delighted that at last we seem to have a commitment from central Government to dual this important route through our county.

“I think it will assist the businesses in our county and will also improve road safety, encouraging the heavy traffic to use this route rather than clogging up our smaller roads.”

Mitford Open Village Show on Saturday. Glen Sanderson presents Michelle Shallcross with the Mitford Church cup for the best kept garden. Picture by Chris Mellow

Mitford Open Village Show on Saturday. Glen Sanderson presents Michelle Shallcross with the Mitford Church cup for the best kept garden. Picture by Chris Mellow

Coun Glen Sanderson, for Longhorsley, said: “It will draw a line over past disappointments, and herald a new,safer, and appropriate route for generations to come.

“The news is, in a word, tremendous for us here in north Northumberland and I,for one, can’t wait to see the bulldozers arrive.”

Wooler’s Coun Anthony Murray said: “It is a great pity that dualling could not have been completed to the Scottish Border.

“I note that improvements are to be made on the most northerly part, but I do not think these will overcome the frustrations caused by single carriageway.

County Council election.'Anthony Murray

County Council election.'Anthony Murray

“I did hope that complete dualling of the A1 would have taken place thus lessening the increasing national traffic, especially heavy goods vehicles, being tempted to use the A697 which was never constructed to accommodate this volume or type of traffic.”

Fellow northern member, Coun Dougie Watkin, for Norham and Islandshires, said: “Any progress is progress, and it’s progress towards an end goal. It isn’t what we want, however, it’s a step in the right direction.

“Every bit that gets dualled means the bit that isn’t dualled looks more and more ridiculous.”

Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate and councillor for Druridge Bay, Scott Dickinson, welcomed the news, but said: “The devil of course will be in the detail, securing the remaining 25 miles and ensuring that these current plans are actually delivered.

Dougie Watkin  at the farmers forum at Wooler Mart. Ref: JCNG farmforum 12

Dougie Watkin at the farmers forum at Wooler Mart. Ref: JCNG farmforum 12

“We must, however, not let this cloud our view of the issues faced in this constituency.

“While the Lib Dems and Tories fight out who should take credit for the dualling of the A1, important issues are not being focused on.”

Councillor Scott Dickinson

Councillor Scott Dickinson