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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

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Wylam: Petition bid to prevent tragedy

VILLAGERS worried that a tragedy could be waiting to happen on Wylam’s roads have submitted a petition with over 550 names to Northumberland County Council’s west area committee.

Parents concerned about the lack of safe crossings for school children and others in the village are calling for a 20mph zone to be introduced and have identified three major blackspots.

The petition was drawn up by resident Lynn Clarke after 16-year-old schoolgirl Evie Moffat was knocked over as she crossed the road to her school bus stop in December.

Evie was only yards from her home on Stephenson Terrace when she was struck, sustaining hip and shoulder injuries.

Residents are also concerned about the main shopping area outside the post office where a near-miss recently occurred.

The crossing on a bend by the Fox and Hounds pub has also been highlighted as dangerous.

A cyclist was just inches from being knocked down there recently and many youngsters cross in that area to access the Jubilee playing field.

County councillor Paul Kelly, who is supporting the petition, said: “These children are at risk from traffic coming from both the west and the east, as well as from traffic coming over the bridge and sweeping round the corner.

“There are also two bus stops there – one at either side of the road – which are regularly used by children travelling to school.”

Northumberland County Council’s current policy on 20mph zones dates back two years when it was agreed to follow national guidance on the matter.

Typically, the authority will only consider implementing the restriction in town centres, high streets, residential roads and in the vicinity of schools.

However, Coun. Kelly, who is prepared to put some of his small schemes allowance into safety measures, said: “In Wylam, I think there is a very good case for a change in the county council’s policy of having no 20mph zones on through roads, because Wylam has not got a straight line on its main street and there is very poor visibility.

“But if we do not have additional measures to bring the speed down, the limit will be relatively ineffective.

“We need a 20mph limit with traffic calming, which doesn’t have to mean road humps.

“It could be interactive signs or it could be road markings that give the impression the road is narrowing.”

Chairman of Wylam Parish Council Coun. Tom Martin said: “All the time I have been on the parish council there has been concern about the speed of traffic going through the village.

“We supported this petition, which a very big percentage of people in the village have put their names to.

“We wait with bated breath to hear how Northumberland County Council will respond to it.”

A report will go back to the west area committee in June, when members may choose to make a recommendation to the county council’s executive.