STREET: A danger to pedestrians

I wish to thank Mr David Cowton (News Post Leader, January 21) for highlighting the disgraceful state of Ashington’s so-called pedestrian main street.

He is right to point out that the block paving is less than satisfactory. He actually underestimates the seriousness caused by routine flooding and associated water pools.

A number of larger retail businesses have complained that the drainage system is wholly inadequate and flooding regularly impacts negatively on business activity.

To assume this main street is a pedestrian precinct is to risk serious injury or death. The traffic orders prohibiting all traffic between 10am and 4pm have long been a local joke and are consequently ignored by hundreds of motorists, illegally, every week.

The gates at either end of the pedestrian zone are regularly left open. Some private cars, vans, lorries and taxis drive through the pedestrian zone as a matter of habit, without fear of contradiction or punishment. This dismal state of affairs has been the case now for over 20 years.

Vulnerable people are especially at risk. The elderly, infirm and families with young children are thrown together with brash 4x4 lovers, boy-racers, taxi drivers, delivery men and motorised shoppers – endangering human life.

Interestingly, Northumberland County Council is presently considering ‘final options’ regarding improvements to Station Road, Ashington. One of the available options is ‘the road remaining pedestrianised’. It is difficult to take this seriously.

Local authorities have a long history of using impressive words to disguise the shambles that exists in the real world of daily experience.

Station Road is a dangerous shambles. The only intelligent decision is to open up the street to traffic in both directions, keeping roadways relatively narrow with a maximum speed of five or ten mph. Pavements should be wide and obviously pavements, not artistic block paving for dangerous, illegal driving.

Mr TM Patterson