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Row erupts over who should take the credit for keep clear marking

The keep clear road marking.
The keep clear road marking.

A war of words erupted on social media over who was responsible for rallying the county council into action to install new road markings in Alnwick town centre.

The keep clear message was painted onto the highway by the dropped kerb beside Baileys of Alnwick, on Bondgate Within, last week, in a bid to improve pedestrian safety.

However, who should take credit became a source of debate on social media, with Labour and Conservative representatives having their say.

Following the work, James Matthewson, of Alnwick Labour Party, posted on Facebook: ‘Really pleased that action has been taken after I wrote to Northumberland County Council specifically requesting keep clear signs to be painted at this dropped kerb.

‘Continuing to represent residents’ views and concerns to keep the pressure on councillors and council officers and resolve these issues is making a difference to our community.’

But his post prompted a reply from Coun David Towns, Conservative ward member for Pegswood, who criticised Mr Matthewson for taking credit for ‘somebody else’s efforts’.

He added: ‘His letter did not prompt this action. There was a meeting with the highways team in Alnwick two weeks ago between officers, the two county councillors for Alnwick (both Conservative) and a number of town councillors. James was not in attendance, although I accept he may not have been invited. Officers were requested to see to these new markings and agreed to do that before the end of January.’

He flagged up an earlier Facebook post from Alnwick County Coun Robbie Moore, which praised the work.

Coun Towns also claimed that the keep-clear issue had been ignored by the former Labour administration.

Mr Matthewson said that he has long been campaigning about accessibility issues in Alnwick. He later told the Gazette that he had highlighted the need for the keep clear markings in a letter, which we published in November.

When approached for comment by the Gazette, Alnwick County Coun Gordon Castle branded Mr Matthewson’s victory claims ‘completely false’ and said he had ‘nothing to do with it’.