Work at junction ‘will make little difference to safety’

Charlotte and Helen Wyld outside their house, with the boarded-up window beside them.
Charlotte and Helen Wyld outside their house, with the boarded-up window beside them.

A mother, whose two young daughters had a lucky escape after a car ploughed into their home at a notorious junction, has criticised safety measures earmarked for the site – believing they will do little to improve the situation.

Last week, the Gazette reported that Northumberland County Council had agreed to a series of works at the dangerous New Moor House crossroads, where the B6341 road from Alnwick to Rothbury meets the A697.

The car crashed into the house.

The car crashed into the house.

It comes after a Vauxhall Corsa crashed into the Wyld family’s house on the evening of January 30. The impact brought a window frame tumbling onto the settee in the living room, where young siblings Charlotte and Ruby had been sitting just 20 minutes before. It wasn’t the first time that a vehicle has hit the house and following last month’s incident, Helen called for the safety of the crossroads to be improved, suggesting that stop signage and rumble strips could help.

Work that has been agreed at the site includes improvements to the existing road markings, cutting back of vegetation to improve the visibility of existing traffic signs, as well as cleaning existing channels and gullies. These works are expected to be complete by the end of March.

Further measures are proposed on the B6341 side-road approach to the crossroads from Rothbury, which includes new signage and road markings.

However, Helen believes more still needs to be done. She said: “I am very disappointed with what they are going to do and feel it is going to make very little difference to the safety here. We will continue to feel unsafe in our home, as it will be just a matter of time before we have another vehicle plough into our house, and next time we may not be as lucky.

The broken window frame inside the living room.

The broken window frame inside the living room.

“We will continue to campaign for improved safety at this junction. We are living with a constant reminder of what happened, as our house is still a cold, dusty building site. It is going to take several more weeks before we can use our living room again and many months for my children to get over the trauma.”

The crossroads are in the Longhoughton ward of Coun Kate Cairns, who helped to thrash out safety measures for the site following the crash.

She said: “I raised the proposals of a stop junction and rumble strips with officers, but this was rejected as there are certain criteria which have to be met for the application of these measures. It was also mentioned that rumble strips would cause extra noise at the property.

“Other measures have been proposed and I have pressed for these to be implemented ASAP. I will continue to raise the issue of the safety of this junction and the A697 at every opportunity.”