Criticism of road layout after crash

The scene of the crash on Willowburn Avenue, Alnwick. Picture by Steve Miller.
The scene of the crash on Willowburn Avenue, Alnwick. Picture by Steve Miller.

A mini-roundabout in Alnwick has been branded confusing and an absolute joke by Gazette readers after a two-vehicle crash at the site.

However, a leading councillor believes that road safety is set to improve after permission was granted to replace the existing roundabout.

Criticism was sparked on Friday following a collision between a Mazda and a Volkswagen at the mini-roundabout on Willowburn Avenue at around 4pm.

The island currently has three exits, with one leading to Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre and the retail complex featuring Sainsbury’s and Homebase.

Nobody was injured in the incident and details were exchanged by the two drivers.

News of the crash prompted a largely critical reaction from readers on our Facebook page, with many hitting out at the nature and the layout of the road.

Julie Howard said: “It is a poor excuse for a roundabout. I am surprised there hasn’t been more accidents. People don’t understand a give way sign!”

Quentin Field-Boden added: “I’m surprised there aren’t more accidents there, the general layout seems to cause a great deal of confusion to some folk in terms of who has the right of way.”

Gary Brown wrote: “What I can’t understand is why is it a roundabout. It should have been left as a junction and it would be absolutely fine.”

But Libby Briggs said: “It’s not the roundabout that’s the problem,” while Keith Kim added: “I don’t understand why people cannot use that roundabout properly?

“The amount of times there is three cars all stopped at each exit is unreal. It’s only a roundabout!”

However, the situation could well change after county-council plans to replace the existing mini-roundabout with a larger one with four exits – including a new access road to the development at Greensfield, also the site of the proposed new high school – were recently approved.

Other road-safety aspects relating to the new access road include a shared pedestrian/cycle path, associated signing/road markings and road lighting and a toucan crossing.

Work is provisionally set to begin on Monday, June 16, and Alnwick town and county councillor Gordon Castle believes a new roundabout will improve the current situation.

He said: “I think it would be an improvement to have a full-scale roundabout and I welcome that when it comes.

“I am familiar with the hazards at the current roundabout, which is very small, but heavily used and requires due care.

“In my opinion, the main problem is drivers coming from Sainsbury’s direction failing to give way to the right.”