Never seen road so empty

A typically busy rural Northumberland main road taken on a Monday afternoon on the A697 near Powburn.
A typically busy rural Northumberland main road taken on a Monday afternoon on the A697 near Powburn.

The photo on Page 30 of last week’s Gazette (March 7) does absolutely nothing for the dire straits Northumberland roads are in.

I don’t know where John Wylde lives but the only time I have ever seen the A697 so empty along its entire length, never mind near Powburn, in the last 58 years is at about 3am when we have set out for London to avoid the traffic throughout England.

If the writer had bothered to observe the road between 8am and 9.30am he would have found it nose-to-tail with commuter traffic for the Tyne and Tees area and similarly between 4.30pm and 6.30pm. The rest of the day it is often full of heavy lorries.

It is words and pictures like this badly interpreted that have, since 1961, delayed improvements to the A1 as the ministry in London take this sort of publicity as the truth about us and avoid updating the main road to Edinburgh.

As long as there is a need for food to be produced to feed our urban populations then the agricultural community in this highly-productive farming area and the providers of jobs in electrical, plumbing, banks and shops here need cars, as the public buses have died, for the rest of their family to get to work.

The ridiculous thing is while the Government wants to make fuel expensive and to encourage London and the south east to take to public transport, it has resulted in the complete loss of any rural transport so families have to rely on the car to get the wives and the other members of their family to work in the centres like Alnwick, Wooler and Berwick.

Also the county do not provide transport to school for the 16-plus age group so they also have cars. That is why the roads around the Duchess’s School are totally blocked in term time.

John Wylde also seems to have photographed about the only strip of road between Wooler and Alnwick and Morpeth not totally covered in holes worthy of a impoverished county.

The bicycle as an alternative form of transport is impossible as our roads have bigger and bigger lorries delivering things from the south and the continent and they have no regard for anyone on a bicycle and the same is true for walkers and horses all too often.

My son, preparing for a ride for charity from Lands End to John of Groats, had to use an exercise bicycle in one of our barns to train and get fit as the small roads are being used by totally unsuitable lorry traffic and is breaking up thr outer edges of all these roads.

Anne Wrangham,

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