Poor state of road signs criticised

One of the damaged signs.
One of the damaged signs.

Smashed, broken and rusting road signs are making a picturesque area of north Northumberland look like a Third World country, it has been claimed.

Coun Jim Railton says the Tillside parish is plagued with damaged information boards, which is embarrassing, making it look scruffy and is dangerous to road users.

A fallen down sign.

A fallen down sign.

He has branded it ‘the forgotten parish of Northumberland’, saying that repeated requests to the county council to repair and replace the signs have fallen on deaf ears.

However, the county council has said that it has replaced some of the signs and wants more information on the others so it can take action.

Concerned Coun Railton, who is Tillside Parish Council chairman, said: “It really is a disgraceful state of affairs – especially as we are in a high-priority tourist area where we should be welcoming visitors and be proud of our parish. Instead it looks like the Third World. It is embarrassing.

“Despite continuing lobbying of county-council officers to repair and replace signs, we seem to get nowhere. I suspect we are the forgotten parish in Northumberland.

“Tillside is probably the largest parish in the county, in terms of square area. Made up out of four wards – Chillingham, Hetton, Lilburn and Chatton – the parish spreads from Eglingham in the south to Lowick in the north. And from Wooler in the west to Belford toward the east. We are that little green bit in the middle and the council seems to have forgotten about us – signs-wise. We’re neglected.”

Attractions in the area include Chillingham Castle, not to mention the stunning scenery and tranquil setting – yet Coun Railton fears the damaged signage is detracting from the area’s beauty.

He said: “It lets the whole of the county down. We are trying to spread the message about the county, yet we have a situation like this, it is crazy.

“The parish council has already repaired one sign using parish-council funds, and if things don’t change, we will have to fund-raise and start to put the signs up ourselves, just through exacerbation.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “We have responded to parish council requests and replaced some of the signs identified. In a number of cases we were unable to identify the locations from information supplied by the parish council, and have asked the parish to provide some further information.

“When we receive this, we will respond as quickly as we can. At Monday’s North Area Committee, our teams were thanked for recent footpath works requested by the parish council.”