Entrance to Northumberland village described as 'slum end' by angry resident

A Felton man has described the northern entrance to the village as the ‘slum end’ and called for it to be brought up to the standards seen elsewhere.

Saturday, 20th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 22nd July 2019, 9:22 pm

Resident Bill Sidgwick, who lives near the junction with the A1, has been complaining to Northumberland County Council for more than 18 months.

He has highlighted the state of the area, just after leaving the dual carriageway, where the road has yet to be fully repaired following a bus fire in 2013, there is a muddy verge filled with rubble, a lack of decent grass-cutting on the verges and general disrepair to the footpaths. There is also a collapsed bus shelter, although this is not the responsibility of the county council.

However, the verges have recently had a cut and the council says the fire-damaged road will be dealt with in August.

A Felton verge.

“In March, I said I wanted some action by the end of June,” Mr Sidgwick said.

“We’ve had some new spray paint on the road, there was a little bit of grass-cutting just in mid July and some rubbish thrown in the holes in the verge, but it doesn’t stop people parking there.”

Until recently, there was a marked difference in the cutting of the verges at either end of the village, as the southern West Moor junction to Thirston inherited the regime followed by the former Castle Morpeth Borough Council, while the northern junction was in the Alnwick District Council area and the county council simply continued the previous practices.

In response to this ‘unfairness’, the local authority has now stopped cutting the verges from the A1 into Thirston as it did before – something which Mr Sidgwick described as downgrading the Thirston end rather than improving the northern one.

A road sign for Felton.

He is also concerned about the state of the actual access onto the A1 and how the poor state of the verges and hedges affects the visibility for traffic.

In comparison to all of the nearby junctions onto the A1, both north and southbound, he claims that Felton’s northern junction is the worst in terms of tidiness and visibility.

“We just want to be treated the same as the entrance to Shilbottle or The Helm and at the moment, we are not,” he said.

“Felton has more people in it with the new estate and it has tourist attractions – The Running Fox, the Northumberland Arms, the Foxes Den, Gallery 45 and then a little bit further away Bywell and Bockenfield – so there’s lots of action.”

A roadside near Felton.

A Northumberland County Council spokesman said: “There is a scheme in August to properly repair the fire-damaged patch of road.

“With regard to roadside verges, each year a number of requests are made to the county council about cutting them.

“These are usually to either cut verges more or less frequently and while we can’t agree to all requests to change maintenance arrangements, we do consider each request carefully and assess their feasibility.

“Anyone with concerns about verge growth restricting visibility for road users should report it via www.northumberland.gov.uk”