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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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Council urged to find fix for dangerous potholes

PRESSURE is mounting on highways chiefs to repair Tynedale’s crumbling roads – and to stop patching up potholes as a quick fix.

Local resident Alistair Carr inspects the pothole which has opened up on Allendale Road in Hexham.

Residents have raised safety concerns about two “huge” potholes on the Allendale Road between Hexham and Lowgate, which have already re-appeared a week after they were filled in.

People living in the area fear cars could swerve to avoid the craters – which are up to eight inches deep and about 20 yards apart – putting lives at risk.

Alistair Carr, who has lived on Allendale Road for 30 years, said: “In the time I have lived here the potholes have never been as bad as these two, which are undoubtedly a hazard on the road.

“They are huge. The danger is that they are both close to the kerb, so motorists will steer towards oncoming traffic to avoid them.

“Sometimes there is not a lot of room because the road is used by agricultural vehicles.

“The holes fill up with water which sometimes makes them difficult to see, and if you drive over them you could badly damage your car.

“I got rid of my 4x4 last year but I should have kept it because there is a big chance of getting a puncture outside my own home.”

Mr Carr (63) understands that Northumberland County Council is faced with making a reduction of around £3m in local services this year, but the retired bank official says road safety should be a top priority.

He added: “They filled in these two potholes last week, but they have just opened up again.

“The maintenance is very poor and they need to come up with a long term solution, because this is not acceptable.”

Complaints have also come from Haltwhistle, where councillors said the condition of the town’s main street could lead to an accident.

Chairing Monday’s meeting of Haltwhistle Town Council, Alan Sharp said: “The county council has improved some roads in Haltwhistle but it is still bad in some places, including the main street.”

Coun. Anne Burns said: “There is a pothole which is like a tramline on a road at the west end of Haltwhistle, near the Metal Bridge.”

There was also criticism of utility companies, with councillors calling on them to work together to minimise the number of times roads are dug up for pipe repairs and installations.

The pressure on highways chiefs comes three weeks after the county council’s west area committee chairman, Coun. Colin Horncastle, said roads in the district were “almost beyond redemption.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman has set up a helpline for residents to report dangerous potholes to him directly.

The MP claims he has been contacted by people who have suffered accidents as a result of potholes, including a motorist who crashed a car in Prudhoe, a cyclist who took a tumble near Stocksfield, and a pedestrian who fell while walking at Hexham’s west end.

Mr Opperman can be contacted on (01434) 603777.