Campaigners demand action before someone is killed on Morpeth bypass

A safe crossing zone could be created in Morpeth after campaigners warned it is only a “matter of time” before someone is killed on the Northern Bypass.

By James Robinson
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 3:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:36 pm

A petition launched by Morpeth resident Vicky Oakley has called on Northumberland County Council to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the road at the roundabout near Northgate Hospital.

The petition, signed by more than 230 residents, states that families and children are “at risk on a daily basis” as they attempt to cross the road, which opened five years ago and cost £30m.

At a meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Committee, Mrs Oakley addressed councillors and said the issue was only going to get worse.

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The section of bypass which campaigners say is too dangerous for people to cross.

She added: “The request is supported by residents, Hebron Parish Council and Northgate Hospital. Parents have come to me and many think it is a matter of time before something fatal happens.

“There are two large estates and the population of the hospital who use that crossing.

“We know the damage a car can do at 40mph, never mind 60mph. Parents felt nobody cared, this petition is so their voice can be heard. It needs to be a safe crossing and currently it is not.”

Neil Snowdon, the council’s principal highways programme officer, said officers would carry out work to determine what could be done .

He said: “We are going to carry out a safe routes to school assessment to identify any potential improvements and any additional signage and we are considering a reduced speed limit.

“We hope for that assessment to be carried out before the summer holidays.”

The area’s ward councillor, David Towns, said the issue should have been identified during the design of the road and he supported the petition.

He added: “When the bypass was designed, I’m not convinced sufficient thought was given to the fact that this area was being considered for housing. I’m no expert, but that’s my guess.

“I’m not convinced a pedestrian crossing would make it safer – it may make it less safe. It’s a large roundabout and cars speed up on it. The danger is any traffic leaving the roundabout.”

Members agreed that the officer’s report into any potential solution should be brought back to a future meeting.