Desperate plea for traffic calming measures on Ashington road

A county councillor has said she is ‘furious’ a problem road in her ward will not be prioritised for safety measures this year – fearing somebody could be killed.
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Northumberland County Council has released its draft Local Transport Plan (LTP) for the coming year, detailing the highways projects and maintenance the council will undertake in 2024/25.

Cllr Caroline Ball, who represents the Ashington Central ward, is unhappy that North Seaton Road had been omitted despite her requests.

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Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting of the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Committee, Cllr Ball said she feared somebody would be killed on the route if the council did not take action. Officers explained that the council had to prioritise roads where accidents were already an issue.

Cllr Caroline Ball.Cllr Caroline Ball.
Cllr Caroline Ball.

Cllr Ball said: “I’m furious North Seaton Road isn’t in the LTP. Residents are asking ‘does somebody have to die on that road?’

“The majority of people are driving within the speed limit, but the people that aren’t are flying down that road. What does it take? It is an actual free-for-all.

“We need to look at that road. It is a matter of time, particularly if we are going to encourage people to walk and cycle down there.”

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Cllr Ball acknowledged that council officers had to make difficult decisions with regards to the LTP, adding she would ‘hate’ to do their job. However, she also felt there ‘must be a better way’ when it comes to choosing which projects to take forward.

Robin McCartney, the council’s highways infrastructure manager, said: “We have analysed data where accidents have happened. That’s why the budget is aimed at where the accidents are, where there are obvious road safety concerns.

“We can only intervene, because of the volume of problems we have got, when the 85th percentile of drivers’ speed is too high. Then we have discussions with police about enforcement.”

The 85th percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85% of the drivers travel on a road segment. Members’ comments on the plan, which is presented at all local area committees in Northumberland, will be taken forward to develop the final draft of the LTP ahead of implementation in 2024/25.