Belford Parish Council: A1 proposals and ‘gollywog’ complaint

Belford Parish Council will highlight a series of concerns in response to the latest consultation on the proposals to upgrade the A1.

The road is not going to be dualled north of Ellingham, but there is money for several improvement schemes, such as junction improvements and overtaking lanes.

One of the latter is proposed near Belford, where there would be an additional lane northbound between the Cragmill Road junction and Middleton.

The minor road towards Middleton would be closed off.

However, concerns were raised last Thursday that the Cragmill junction is already dangerous due to visibility.

Highways England had proposed a southbound overtaking lane between the Cragmill junction and the B1342, but this was removed after concerns about the safety of the B1342 were expressed during the previous consultation earlier this year.

Members would still like to see something done to extend the deceleration lane at this junction as the slip-road for northbound traffic coming into Belford is too short.

The lack of improvements to the Mousen Bends remains a cause for concern as well.

• A member of the public called for the council’s vice-chairman to resign due to a photo on his Facebook page.

At last Thursday’s meeting, Geoff Stafford asked if a breach of the council’s code of conduct had taken place in relation to a photo online in which Coun Reg Carruthers appears to be dressed as a gollywog.

The picture, which Mr Stafford said had been described as racist by a friend, reportedly dates back to 2009, but has been used on Coun Carruthers’ profile page since earlier this year.

Coun Carruthers was not at the meeting, but the chairman, Coun Brenda Stanton, told Mr Stafford that she would check the code of conduct and then respond to him.

Mr Stafford also asked why a complaint letter he sent to the council and any decision made in relation to it had not been included in the minutes.

Coun Stanton said that the parish council was not obliged to publish or minute all of its correspondence and that the complaint related to an incident which did not take place at a parish-council meeting.