The battering from traffic taken by the B6325 as it snakes up to Barmoor Corner is as nothing to the treatment meted out by Northumbria Water this spring and summer. We are all eager to see whether or not a new hole will be required to mend yet another problem uncovered [or covered up] by the attempt to bring water to our thirsty community.
I am told by a source close to Northumberland County Council [our former Councillor, Dougie Watkin] that Northumberland is only too well aware that the road surface requires special care when driving, and that when they are sure that Northumbria Water has finished with the road, they will resurface it properly. Obviously no-one wants to see a new surface immediately broken up by more diggers and rollers.
Does this map look familiar to you? This shows Northumberland in the 1700s. In the 1970s its southern border was chiseled away to form North Tyneside – a Council that was part of the new county of Tyne and Wear. Newcastle also joined Tyne and Wear, having been a county in its own right since 1400.
So much for history – the current Conservative leadership of Northumberland County Council is campaigning for a new regional authority that will combine all three of these councils – i.e., Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle. Tentatively called the North of Tyne Authority [though a bit is someway south of the Tyne] the proposal is for an agreement between the three to join hands, drawn up with central government, and featuring its own mayor – to be elected in 2018.
Whether this comes about is down to everybody agreeing – but in an era where localism is supposed to involve the voters having an opportunity to express their views, it might be time to ask your local County Councillor what is happening, and what will happen to far-flung regions like Berwick if NCC Leader Councillor Jackson’s plan succeeds.
This throws into more uncertainty the future of County Hall in Morpeth. Apparently rescued by the cancelled new building in Ashington, its future still looks dodgy. My source believes that the new authority would be based at the North Tyneside HQ down in Cobalt Park. Anyone wanting to preserve some of the fine sculpture work in the old County Building needs to work out a strategy, while there is still time.
Meanwhile, which political party or parties will lead the new Authority, and how soon will voters be able to choose who will represent them, when it meets?
And a sure sign is the publication of new autumn and winter activities by local groups. Check the Diary on LOWICK:LIVE for the events as they occur – and let me know if you are running new ones. We can’t have enough cheer in the long winter nights, now that its clear they are almost here again.
First in the schedule seems to be the HERITAGE GROUP, the FILM CLUB, and the newly rekindled BOWSDEN DISCUSSION GROUP. I believe that the VILLAGE HALL PANTO this Xmas will be CINDERELLA, and more details of this and other activities will be published soon.
Finally for this late August news, we would like to thank Dougie Watkin for his service to the community of Norham and Islandshire, of which we are a part. Dougie knew the district and the people who lived there, and ran it, like no other. As you will have gathered, he is still keeping his finger on the pulse.
We must also welcome new County Councillor Roderick Lawrie, who will do everything he can to answer your questions and queries about Council matters. Please send then to the Parish Council for ownward transmission, if all else fails. Roderick’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org , which apparently works if you get no joy out of his official address, which is email@example.com.
Below is the map published by HIGHWAYS ENGLAND showing the proposed layout of the A1 where it is joined by the B6353 at Fenwick. Concerns have been raised that the intention is to close access to the Southbound carriageway of the A1 from the west at this point.
As can be seen, this is not the case. The junction is to be realigned and safety features added to the centre of the A1. This is confirmed in a recent email from Highways England to Phillip Hanson, Lowick Parish Councillor. The E-mail is repeated below
Dear Mr Hanson
A1 in Northumberland Programme – B6365 Junction
As part of the A1 in Northumberland programme of works an option to provide overtaking opportunities on the A1 at Fenwick was previously developed and presented at the A1 in Northumberland Public Consultation Events in November 2016. This improvement could be accompanied by improvements to the A1 junction with the B6353. I can confirm that as part of the proposed improvements traffic would be able to turn both right and left at the B6353 onto the A1. I have included some further information below around the proposed improvements at this junction for your information;
- The B6353 minor road would be realigned to meet the A1 at a right angle, creating a staggered junction
- The A1 carriageway would be widened and both northbound and southbound traffic right turns at the junction will be accommodated with full standard ghost island central refuges, to allow drivers to wait for a gap in the opposing traffic without impeding mainline traffic flow.
- Northbound left turning traffic would also benefit from a deceleration taper for the B6353.
- New pedestrian crossing facilities are being considered; potentially central refuges would allow the crossing of the northbound and southbound traffic lanes in two stages.
The proposals are at early stage of development and we are currently reviewing and analysing all the responses received during the Public Consultation period, and are in the process of refining the designs and completing our assessment of these improvements following the feedback received. We are also undertaking an independent Road Safety Audit of the proposals north of Ellingham including at Fenwick, which will inform the future development of the options. Therefore please note that the designs are not yet finalised and subject to change. The proposals are also subject to completion of the value for money assessment and successful completion of associated statutory procedures.
For more information on the A1 in Northumberland scheme, please see the link to the scheme web page below. Here you can sign up for alerts to be notified when new information is made available and find out more about timescales:
If you have any questions about the scheme, please do not hesitate to contact me at A1inNorthumberland@highwaysengland.co.uk or on 0300 470 4585.
Regional Investment Programme (RIP) North, Project Manager
Highways England | Lateral | 8 City Walk | Leeds | LS11 9AT