Morpeth traffic lights to be removed this month

Controversial traffic lights in a Northumberland town centre are to be removed later this month

Morpeth traffic lights protests
Morpeth protests

Northumberland County Council has confirmed it plans to reinstate a temporary mini-roundabout in place of the lights at Telford Bridge in Morpeth on a six month trial basis, with the change to be made on October 12.

The news was last night welcomed by the Morpeth Lights Out group which was established to campaign for their removal, which said it hoped the trial would become permanent.

The lights were installed in April last year as part of plans for a new Morrisons superstore in the town, but sparked an outcry, with public meetings and a protest march calling for their removal and a protest petition signed by almost 2,500 people.

The public anger forced the county council to commission an independent review on the future of the lights, and general traffic management in Morpeth, by consultant Phil Jones.

Mr Jones’ final recommendations were for the removal of the traffic lights and the return of the mini roundabout on a six month trial basis.

The council has now carried out all the necessary technical work including a design and safety audit and has drawn up an action plan to remove the lights, at a cost of around £18,000.

This will involve carrying out the necessary work at the same time as a planned closure of Telford Bridge on October 12.

Once the temporary roundabout is reinstated the scheme will be monitored over the six month trial period.

The Managing Morpeth’s Traffic Steering Group and the council will consider a long term solution after the trial.

Couvncil leader Grant Davey said: “Technical information from the developers of the Morrisons store clearly suggested that traffic signals would be the best solution to deal with increased traffic.

“However, we are responding to the concerns of local residents by trialling a mini-roundabout and also looking for a longer term solution.

“We are grateful for the contribution of the steering group, including town and county councillors and school governors helping to find a solution to this issue and to Phil Jones for his report.”

David Towns, chairman of Morpeth Lights Out, said: “It is exactly as we expected, it is exactly as we have been campaigning for for over 18 months.

“It is the result everyone wants to see and we are really pleased that Phil has come in, been totally independent, listened to all sides of the story and is making recommendations that benefit everybody in Morpeth.

“We are pretty sure the lights coming out will improve things and will not be coming back.”

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