Trust steps in to provide new Tweed ladders

Over the years, a number of vehicles have gone off the edge of Pier Road in Berwick, and have crashed on the rocks below.

Thursday, 20th July 2017, 8:11 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 11:51 am
New ladders fitted by Berwick Preservation Trust to provide access and exit from the Tweed estuary along Pier Road. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Rescuers have had access to them by way of one of four fixed ladders but when the most recent accident happened, over a year ago, the driver of the car had great difficulty in getting back up to the road again and passers-by struggled to help because all the ladders had rotted away and were unavailable for use.

This prompted a local resident to ask the Berwick Preservation Trust if it could help organise new ladders to be fitted.

Ease of access and speed of rescue is essential to save lives in the case of car occupants, or elderly persons being injured and the tide rising.

The Trust agreed to become involved and confirmed that the body responsible, Northumberland County Council, currently had no funds available for that work.

It therefore agreed to work with the council and to fund the approximate £9,500 cost itself to avoid any potentially life-threatening delay.

Working with the council’s northern area highways manager, new ladders were sourced, incorporating the latest health and safety design, and these have recently been installed by local contractors PJ Brown.

The ladders will now be maintained by the county council.

Trust chairman Jamie Andrew said that whilethey were visually different from the old ladders which were probably installed more than 100 years ago, the design of the new ladders had significant benefits in terms of ease of access both to and from the water (or seabed) and were compliant to modern health and safety standards.

Phil Brown, of PJ Brown, added that the additional height of the new ladders also helped motorists to be better aware of where the edge of the Pier Road finished.