Bamburgh residents raise road safety concerns

Bamburgh residents have made a fresh appeal for the introduction of new traffic calming measures.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 09 July, 2019, 09:57
Traffic calming measures on the road into Bamburgh. Picture by Jane Coltman

Residents at Bamburgh Parish Council’s meeting last week said they wanted safety measures carried out before there is a serious accident or even a fatality.

However, authorities have ruled out a Belisha beacon pedestrian crossing because of the impact it would have on the conservation area and vistas of the castle and there has been no agreement on any alternative.

“Are they waiting for someone to die?” asked Jane Graham. “There doesn’t seem to be any progression on this.”

Andrea Thomas, calling for a crossing at the north end of the village green, added: “People are taking their lives in their hands. Elderly residents in this village don’t feel confident enough to cross the road on their own.

“I love the castle and the vista is wonderful but I’m afraid common sense has to prevail. We have a responsibility to keep people safe.”

The issue was discussed at a joint meeting of Bamburgh Parish Council, Northumberland County Council and Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership last week.

Those in attendance heard there had been 23 responses to a village consultation exercise with flashing lights to reduce speed the most popular suggestion (12), followed by raised platforms (10) and chicanes (2). A pedestrian crossing or safe place to cross was also mentioned on many responses.

Four measures were agreed. 1) A new speed survey will take place at five points along the main road within two months; 2) A pedestrian versus vehicle survey will take place over the same period to test the need for a crossing; 3) Rumble strips at the entrances to the village will be replaced once an alternative suitable material has been found; 4) The village should support a Community Speed Watch.

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Barbara Brook, parish council chairman, said: “I think that is the way forward. Until all that is completed I don’t think Northumberland County Council are going to be interesting in talking to us about speed calming measures. We will keep plugging away at it and try to be as proactive as we can be.”

A previous speed survey carried out in summer 2017 revealed a stark difference between traffic speeds at the entrances to the village and in the centre. Data revealed traffic speeds on Links Road were 41.6mph in a 30mph zone.

The new survey will check speeds at two entrances and three locations in the middle but residents fear it will not produce the evidence required to bring about change through the core of the village.

Bill Brook said: “I don’t think we’ll ever get a pedestrian crossing. I don’t think this survey will show the need. I think the answer is for as many people as possible to actually write to the county council to make our points.”

Coun Guy Renner-Thompson, Bamburgh ward county councillor, said: “All the data we have got at the moment says there is not a problem with speeding in the middle of the village but there is on the edge.

“That is one reason why the rumble strips are now going to be kept. If you can slow the traffic down, the pedestrian crossing becomes less of an issue.”

Streetscape plans for Bamburgh have been under discussion for the past decade but the various parties involved have never been able to come to an agreement on how to progress.

Parish councillor Dave Miller said: “For many people in the village, streetscape has been going on for 10 years and unfortunately it’s almost got to the same place as Brexit. Everyone is sick of it and just want something to happen.”