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ROAD: It’s council’s responsibility

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While motorists attempt to avoid the potholes, is the council avoiding its responsibility?

I live in the Whittingham/Netherton area and I am appalled at the way our county council has let the road between Netherton and Whittingham deteriorate to the extent it has.

The road, in my opinion, is actually dangerous, with large potholes, subsiding edges and very uneven surfaces on most of its length, and motorists driving their cars like dodgems in a vain attempt to avoid costly vehicle repairs.

I understand the head of technical services for Northumberland County Council, Mr Laux, has stated that in the last 10 years major resurfacing work has been carried out in this area.

I can only remember in recent years a stretch from the bridge at Whittingham for a short distance west, the ‘Pike Bank’ at Netherton, which must have been done 10 years ago, and another short stretch west of Eslington Hill being resurfaced. I fail to see this as ‘major resurfacing’.

I also understand that regular inspections are carried out, but can only assume the surveyors do so with their eyes shut on a hovercraft.

The council’s justification for the state of this road is the heavy lorries coming out of Biddlestone Quarry.

I understand the council is in negotiations with Tarmac regarding an application to extend the life of the quarry with the view that it makes a substantial contribution towards the upkeep of this road. Surely this cannot be acceptable practice?

Is the quarry also going to be asked to contribute to the upkeep of other roads that the stone is being hauled on, possibly the A697?

Also, other heavy trucks regularly use the Whittingham/Netherton road, including many lorries hauling timber to the local timber yard. If this is the council‘s criteria, are they also being asked to contribute to its upkeep?

Equally so, is Grain Stores on the A1 being asked to contribute towards the upkeep of sections of the A1 etc?

I imagine the quarry owners pay significant taxes, hauliers pay substantial sums to run their trucks, and all the employees, drivers, quarry workers, etc, pay their taxes. How much more do the authorities want from us?

Does the council actually want this quarry to close with the loss of local jobs?

Or is Mr Laux making excuses for the council’s management of this road?

James Robinson,

Yetlington