REDEVELOPMENT: It’s a dog’s breakfast

Station Road, the pedestrianised main shopping street, Ashington.
Station Road, the pedestrianised main shopping street, Ashington.

Please allow me to post a warning to your readers about the upcoming dangers of the soon to be completed Station Road redevelopment in Ashington.

The new footpath on the south side of the street varies between 2.7m and 3.5m in width, the latter being the maximum width of Ashington main street.

The obvious reality here is that this footpath appears dangerously narrow.

A pushchair cannot pass a wheelchair, a family dog on a lead must inevitably trip up shoppers, customers leaving most of the shops on the south side are forced across this narrow footpath into oncoming pedestrians already struggling to negotiate the perils of walking down the street, and window shopping is completely impossible.

Shoppers will, therefore, be pushed into parked and parking vehicles – cars, vans and lorries driving towards this overcrowded, inadequate footpath.

Small children may end up under the wheels of a 4x4, while the elderly could be bumping into aggressively parking drivers.

The four parking areas are all located on the south side of Station Road, with accommodation for 30 vehicles.

All vehicles are obliged to reverse into oncoming traffic travelling east-west. The echelon system means that it is just about impossible for a reversing driver to see anything of an immediately oncoming vehicle, further complicating an already unsatisfactory whole-street arrangement.

This shocking state of affairs will be up and running before Christmas, giving pedestrians, in particular, a chance to witness the dangers of shopping in Ashington High Street.

It seems to me that Northumberland County Council has sacrificed the safety of shoppers in order to accommodate a one-way traffic system and a somewhat enhanced pedestrian provision on the north side of Station Road.

Traffic is not allowed to return from where it came so where do the cars go when they reach the junction with John Street or Kenilworth Road? Obviously down residential streets and back lanes.

The new layout is wholly inadequate for the purposes of the Tuesday Market. There is simply not the space now to accommodate the volume of stalls necessary to make a market worthwhile.

So as we can plainly see, the whole thing is a bit of a dog’s breakfast.

Add to this catastrophic (and very expensive) example of town planning the state of affairs around Asda in Lintonville Terrace, where the footpaths in places are only 1.5m wide and pedestrian provision is woefully inadequate, and the inevitability of the new County Hall with all that entails, and we must question those who make decisions on our behalf.

TM Patterson

Ashington