Does someone have to die before A1 gets lights?

Councillor Glen Sanderson at the West Moor junction on the A1 with the letters from the Highways Agency dated 2009.
Councillor Glen Sanderson at the West Moor junction on the A1 with the letters from the Highways Agency dated 2009.

LIGHTING on the A1 needs to be improved before someone is killed, a councillor has told the Gazette.

Coun Glen Sanderson, who represents Chevington with Longhorsley, has been fighting to get lights on the single carriageway section of the road since 2009.

Numerous complaints and concerns have been raised at Coun Sanderson’s surgeries about the dark and dangerous junction at West Moor, just south of Felton.

But despite raising the issue numerous times with the Highways Agency, he has been told that it is not policy to put up lights.

And he said that because there have been no accidents and no one has been killed on that section, lighting isn’t warranted.

“Three different people have spoken to me about the A1 junctions this weekend,” he said.

“I have been trying to get lighting since 2009 with no avail.

“It is potentially the most dangerous bit of the road. People use it for commuting.

“I have got a huge pile of correspondence but they say that it is not their policy to put up lights and there have been no accidents. My view is that it is absolute poppycock. We shouldn’t have to wait for an accident on the A1 as it is dangerous enough as it is.

“It is really, really hard to turn off the A1 there especially when it’s dark and you are being dazzled by car headlights.

“We have had some improvements, they have illuminated the kerb with paint and have highlighted the road markings so there has been something but I am going to continue to press to get this policy of non-lighting changed.

“I am sure it is a cost-saving measure that is unjustifiable if it is on a road as dangerous as the A1. Lots of local people have lobbied me about this and I am doing all I can.”

But Coun Sanderson said he has been fighting for a long time with little done about the problems.

And he added that if he doesn’t get an answer soon he may have to take his campaign further.

“I am very fearful that in order to get this done we have to have a fatal accident,” he said.

“The point is that this is one of the most important sections when talking about the A1.

“If I continue to get the same response I am going to have to go higher about it.

“This has been one of my real bugbears for the last three years.It is one of the most frustrating issues I have had to deal with.”

But he said because it is the Highways Agency and not the council responsible it is more difficult.

“And the problem is that the Highways Agency are not accountable like the council.

“I am sure the people are lovely and they are just doing their job but this is what happens when you have a non-accountable agency dealing with a democratic society. It is very frustrating but I will continue to fight for it.”

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “We have fairly recently installed a number of improvements at this junction, including new signs together with verge marker posts.

“This, together with junction bollards on the more heavily-trafficked, side road approach, helps better define the junction in nightime conditions.

“We will continue to monitor the junction, but can confirm there are no proposals to install lighting at this junction.”