Warning over Holy Island causeway idiots

A COUNTY councillor warned against an ‘over-reaction’ at today’s meeting to discuss how to stop vehicles becoming stranded on the Holy Island causeway.

At the packed-out meeting which saw people standing in the entrance to the St Cuthbert’s Centre on the island, Coun Dougie Watkin, ward member for Norham and Islandshires, pointed out that since the causeway opened in 1954, as far as he knew, there had not been a serious injury or fatality.

He said that often people were rescued from cars when there was only a few inches of water, but they panicked because they weren’t expecting it.

And Simon Bevan, clerk of Holy Island Parish Council, was also critical of any attempts to introduce controls that would affect islanders.

“100,000 cars cross every year without getting stuck,” he said. “We are at this meeting because 15 idiots have got stuck.”

“The residents will not accept any measure that will inconvenience them either directly or indirectly.”

He presented a petition signed by over 100 of the island’s residents opposing the installation of barriers.

Mike Scott, head of sustainable transport at Northumberland County Council, put forward a number of suggestions for discussion such as barriers, interactive signs, fixed penalites and smartphone applications, but several residents felt that the problem could be solved by clearer information and signs regarding the causeway and crossing times.

Also at the meeting were county councillors including leader Jeff Reid, Sir Alan Beith MP and representatives from the RNLI, Coastguard and RAF Boulmer Search and Rescue.

For full report, see Thursday’s Gazette.