Husband backs safety calls for ‘dangerous road’

A man whose wife was hospitalised after a smash on the A697 has backed calls for the road to receive urgent attention to improve its safety.

Bob Forster, 57, has branded the road ‘really dangerous’ after partner Irene was injured in a three-vehicle crash at the Fieldhead junction, near Longhorsley, in July.

And following a string of deaths along the A697 in recent months, together with his wife’s experience, he has told the Gazette that the road needs attention.

Bob, who lives at Fieldhead, said: “How many fatalities have there been on the A697 this year alone?

“It must be five or six. My wife was lucky, but she is still recovering from her accident and will be for a long time because of the injuries she had.

“It is a really dangerous road. There are some bad bends and dips and there are a lot of different vehicles using it. It is getting busier and people are using it as an alternative to the A1.”

Irene was hit from behind by a minibus and shunted into the path of an oncoming vehicle while she waited at the junction. She was hospitalised for five days, suffering broken ribs and leg and head injuries.

Nearly five months later, and Irene, 58, is still feeling the effects, suffering short-term memory loss.

And Bob fears that the road’s safety record will become even worse if Energiekontor UK’s application to erect five 126.5m-tall turbines at Fenrother, near to the A697, is given the nod.

He said: “I believe they will be a further distraction on that road and believe it will increase the number of accidents.

“It is ironic that I have been fighting the windfarm on the grounds of the dangers it would pose to motorists using the A697 and then my wife had an accident on that very road.”

Coun Glen Sanderson, ward member for Chevington with Longhorsley, has been vocal in the need for safety improvements on the road and has been working with Northumberland County Council on the issue.