Parents plead for speed restrictions through Northumberland hamlet

Parents have pleaded for speed restrictions to be introduced in their tiny hamlet before there is a fatality.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 9th November 2019, 1:47 pm
Victoria Mundy, pictured with her two children, is calling for a reduced speed limit through Middleton, near Belford.

Some residents of Middleton, near Belford, are calling for the current 60mph speed limit to be lowered.

Mum-of-two Victoria Mundy, who has lived there for 10 years, says she has experienced first hand many reasons why the speed limit should be changed.

“Of course my primary concern is for the safety of my two children (soon to be three),” she revealed. “They are at the perfect age to be 'curious' and to explore their surroundings.

A car crash at Middleton in 2014.

“As you can imagine the current speed of traffic is a constant source of anxiety for me as our home is of close proximity to the road.

“Although I do my best to protect my family, it is my greatest fear that one tiny slip up could end up leading to a fatality of the worst kind.

“This is not only a fear of mine but of other families here with young children I have come to know very well.

“If the speed limit were to be reduced I feel I could rest easier knowing if such a horrific event did occur the result would not be so grave.”

Her home is located close to a bend where visibility is restricted when entering and exiting.

“It has become so bad I have resorted to winding down the window to listen for oncoming traffic before making my move,” she revealed. “On occasion I have misheard and consequently have had many near misses, some with my children on board. With the increase of electric cars on the road this may become even more difficult.”

She continued: “Because the connecting road from Belford to the A1 is on a hill, it is very easy for some cars to even exceed the speed limit.

“Over the years I have personally witnessed many pet deaths and numerous crashes, some major. On our street we have a riding school, a wedding venue, two bus stops (one of which for school children) and a very popular cycling route.

“With the slowing of traffic this causes I have repeatedly seen the growing impatience in other drivers, resulting in misuse of the car horn and even dangerous overtaking.

“It would be my hope that if the speed limit were to be reduced these commuters would be forced to use this road more safely or see it as a deterrent to use it as a faster alternative to the A1 which is only one field away.”

Another Middleton resident, Kate Brotherton, said she was thrilled that this issue has been raised as she is also extremely concerned about the current speeds at which cars drive through.

She said: “As a resident in the area; soon to be a mother of two as well as being a neighbour to various families with children and seeing numerous tourists of families holidaying in our hamlet, I think the issue of road safety is imperative.

“Currently with the 60mph speed limit the main road feels extremely dangerous for pedestrians and local children playing near their homes. The high road speeds also discourages pedestrians walking between Middleton and Belford, which disadvantages both villages particularly from a tourism point if view.

“The main road is part of the daily commute for our local children in that the local school bus stops here. It would seem to me that this would be another good reason for the speed to be reduced.

“With the A1 just a stone throw away I really struggle to see why we need a road parallel to it to continue to sit at 60mph? The A1 is the main commuting highway and the road through Middleton should be considered local access for residents.

“Thus the speed limit should reflect this; it should be safe for our local families and for all the holiday makers who enjoy visiting (and returning) to our beautiful hamlet.”

The issue was discussed by Belford Parish Council last week when members agreed to take the matter to highways officers at Northumberland County Council.

A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: "The parish council have been in touch with us about this, and we are looking into it.

“We have considered the issue in the past, but due to the very small number of properties it would not be normal to reduce the speed limit in this location.

“Given the concerns raised however we will arrange a speed survey and, depending on the results, there may be other measures that could be put in place."