Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Protesters Hopeful Lights Will Go out; Congestion Controversy to Be Looked At

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Protesters Hopeful Lights Will Go out; Congestion Controversy to Be Looked At

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black ? 07884 117069 ? dave.black@ncjmedia.co.uk

CAMPAIGNERS say they are confident that an independent review of traffic management in a congested market town will result in the removal of controversial traffic lights from a key junction.

Leading transport planning consultant Phil Jones is to conduct the wide-ranging review in Morpeth, which is about to finally get under way after being delayed.

It will examine the controversy surrounding the traffic lights at the town centre Telford Bridge junction, but also look at wider transport issues across the town.

Now campaigners are hoping the review's finding will provide the trigger which Northumberland County Council needs to remove the three-way lights, and restore the previous mini-roundabout at the busy junction.

The lights were installed in April to cope with the predicted extra traffic from the town's new Morrisons superstore at Low Stanners, but have sparked one of the biggest public protests ever seen in the town.

In September hundreds of people took to the streets on a march in support of the Lights Out campaign, which has organised a protest petition signed by almost 2,500 people.

In addition, hundreds have packed into two public meetings to demand the urgent removal of the lights, which critics claim are causing longer delays for drivers at off-peak times, creating rat runs through residential areas, spoiling the look of a historic gateway to the town and posing a danger to pedestrians.

Yesterday local county councillor David Towns, who chairs the Lights Out campaign, said the independent review should provide the evidence required for the council to act.

"I have every confidence that Phil Jones will conclude that the lights should come out.

"He will be looking at the evidence of local people and CCTV footage of the queues, and will see the impact of what is really happening. …

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