Almost £20million has been allocated to tackle road, footpath, parking, speeding and bridge issues during the next financial year.
The draft Local Transport Plan (LTP) for 2017/18, featuring £19.579million of projects, has been drawn up by Northumberland County Council.
The list of schemes is selected based on priorities submitted by councillors as well as town and parish councils, which are assessed against a series of criteria.
Among the largest single projects in the draft LTP are a number from the north of the county, including £500,000 for the first phase of works to Felton Bridge; £200,000 for car-park improvements in Seahouses; and £200,000 each for improvements in Bamburgh and Narrowgate in Alnwick, to deal with ‘streets dominated by vehicles’.
There is also £145,000 for improvements on Alnwick’s Wagonway Road as part of efforts to ensure there are safe routes to the new high school.
There is £70,000 for the ongoing traffic management trial in Alnmouth, £70,000 to look at parking on The Braid in Amble and £30,000 for parking in Warkworth.
Among a long list, road repairs should take place on the A1068 Togston to Amble (£180,000); A697 Bridge of Aln (£100,000); A697 Longframlington (£280,000); B1338 Hipsburn roundabout to Alnmouth bridge (£190,000); B6341 High Street, Rothbury (£180,000).
There is £110,000 for further work based on the safety review of the A697 as well as allocations to deal with road-safety issues between Warkworth and Amble, and in Craster.
Alnmouth Station is allotted £50,000 as there may need to be further additional car parking, while Network Rail has recently signed off on widening the footpath over the bridge.
Local councils raise concerns about communication
Town and parish councillors from north Northumberland expressed concerns about the lack of communication between their authorities and the county council.
Coun Alan Symmonds, of Alnwick Town Council, asked if it was possible to improve the dialogue about Local Transport Plan (LTP) projects. “There’s a feeling that it’s not as good as it could be,” he said.
He pointed out that improvements to Narrowgate were included in last year’s plan and a consultation was promised, but then the town council heard nothing more.
John Gallon, a Craster parish councillor, raised the issue that parish-council priorities are chosen in July to be included in the LTP for the following April – a key project could be included, meaning the parish chooses other priorites for the following year, but then the key project could be dropped without being requested again.
Coun Tabitha Bell, of Horncliffe Parish Council, complained about the ‘lack of transparency in the LTP process’ and the ‘lack of communication with Northumberland County Council’, citing a recent example about a 14-day closure of the A698 which the parish council had not been notified about and has now been delayed.