Cramlington pupils crossed 70mph road to get home due to road closure and lack of footpaths

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A serious crash has highlighted the urgent need to provide a pedestrian connection between Cramlington and the new Fairways and Arcot Manor estates, according to one campaigner.

Estate residents have been fighting for better access to the town centre for the past two years due to safety fears for pedestrians forced to walk alongside high-speed roads.

Monday morning's crash on Fisher Lane saw the road closed, meaning school buses were unable to return children to the estates.

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The cause of the crash, which saw two vehicles hit a tree felled by the high winds of Storm Isha, is still under investigation by police.

A protest march was held by residents of the estates in April 2023 to draw attention to the lack of safe footpaths. (Photo by archive)A protest march was held by residents of the estates in April 2023 to draw attention to the lack of safe footpaths. (Photo by archive)
A protest march was held by residents of the estates in April 2023 to draw attention to the lack of safe footpaths. (Photo by archive)

Mum-of-two Julia Dowd said children had to walk along the busy road before crossing a stretch where cars travel at 70mph.

Julia, who has a 15-year-old and an eight-year-old, said: “It is a really sad situation because one of the drivers is in a critical condition so your priority is with them.

“However, what has happened as a result is nobody who needs to get into Newcastle can, which is a problem for people that work there.

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"The school buses have been able to pick the children up and take them to Cramlington, but it cannot get them back because that carriageway is closed.

“That’s the fallout from it because we have not got a footpath. They have to walk along a 50mph road, a 60mph road, and a 70mph road.

"It is awful. The dark nights make it more dangerous.

“There are up to 600 homes now and we do not have a shop or even a post box, and we cannot walk anywhere.”

Residents are currently awaiting the construction of a footpath into the town itself, while plans for another footpath to nearby Northumberlandia are included in the council’s 2024/25 Local Transport Plan.

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Julia also revealed that residents had held a “positive” meeting with Northumberland County Council to discuss the issue on Monday night.

She continued: “The meeting was pretty good. The council has some measures it is going to take and has some contributions from the developers.

“They are going to make some significant investments which is good news. It has been two years but we are making some progress.

“I do think if we had not had the campaign, we would not be where we are today.”

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Julia has also launched a petition calling on the government to be accountable for substandard infrastructure and housing on new-build estates.

The petition, which can be found on change.org, had been signed by 194 people at the time of writing.

A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “We had a positive meeting with residents on the Arcot Manor/Fairways estate and are progressing with the two housing consortiums on the creation of a new footpath, which will allow people to get to Beacon Lane and the existing path network.

“We were also able to advise them that prior to Christmas the council signed off on carrying out highways works on the approach to the estate roundabout, involving extra safety signage.

"This will be done in the coming weeks.”

The council emphasised that measures around extra signage had been agreed prior to Monday’s crash.