Northumberland farming couple’s relief as roadworks postponed

A farming couple who feared two sets of roadworks may see them cut off from grazing land have had a last-minute reprieve

Farmer Alan Jackson
Farmer Alan Jackson

A farming couple who faced being unable to reach their grazing land due to roadworks will now be able to do so following a rescheduling.

Alan and Lorna Jackson, who farm near Alnwick in Northumberland, were angry after learning that separate sets of roadworks were to prevent them accessing land which they use for grazing.

However, one set of roadworks has now been postponed, allowing the couple to access the site.

Mr and Mrs Jackson, 59 and 57 respectively, live at Rugley Farm.

He travels up to four times a week to a plot of land in the Lesbury area where he takes calves and lambs to graze. Mr Jackson normally drives from the farm over the A1 and through Shilbottle to the site.

However, since the Highways Agency began roadworks on the A1 South of Alnwick late last month, he has not been able to get to his grazing land via the trunk road due to a contraflow – meaning the junction he usually joins at being closed.

The Whittingham juction on the A1 just south of Alnwick which has been blocked off due the road works
The Whittingham juction on the A1 just south of Alnwick which has been blocked off due the road works
 

Mr Jackson has instead travelled via the B6341, through Alnwick and along the A1068. However, the couple then learned of Northern Gas Network’s (NGN) plans to close the B6341 just outside of Alnwick on May 6 for three days for maintenance.

This meant the Jacksons faced not being able to reach their grazing land by either of the routes, during those three days. They were angry at the fact the two closures were coinciding and at the lack of communication from the two agencies, claiming they had not been notified of NGN’s works and that the agency had not returned their calls.

The couple said there were at least 18 other properties close by who had similarly received no information about access and also feared emergency service vehicles would not be able to reach them.

They were so concerned they even went as far as to seek assistance from Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick.

However, the couple have been relieved to learn the matter has been resolved. Following calls to the Highways Agency and NGN, the latter last night told The Journal it had postponed its work until September.

Farmer Alan Jackson who has no access to the A1 north or south near Alnwick due to major road works
Farmer Alan Jackson who has no access to the A1 north or south near Alnwick due to major road works
 

Barry Watson, customer operations area manager at Northern Gas Networks, said: “We have planned our work closely with Northumberland Highways Department to minimise disruption.

“Ongoing road works (not gas) being carried out on the nearby A1 have taken longer than expected and in order to avoid lengthy delays in and out of the town, we have decided to postpone our work. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

An agency spokeswoman added: “We did liaise with the county council prior to work starting.

“We were not made aware of the other works they are carrying out.

“We have spoken to the county council again today and we have been advised that those works are going to be put on hold until the A1 works have been completed.”

Last night, Mrs Jackson voiced her relief at the postponement.

She said: “If they do it in September and we have got access to the A1, it is not a problem.”

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