Gosforth roadworks : Answers needed to litany of complaints by local people

June 26, 2015 8:47 AM

Cllr Pauline Allen has written to the Cabinet Member responsible for transport infrastructure cataloguing the huge number of complaints that Parklands Ward councilors have received from local people, and asking for answers.

Dear Cllr Bell,
My ward colleagues, Cllrs David Down and Robin Ashby, and I are becoming extremely concerned at
the work being undertaken in Parklands Ward under the name of the Gosforth Improvement Plan.
To be quite frank the word improvement is a joke, as what has happened so far is an unmitigated
mess. We have seen traffic chaos on a daily basis and we understand that this situation is to
continue for some time.
I would appreciate you answering the questions listed below and letting us know what you intend to
do to improve the situation:
 There have been very long queues of traffic, in both the North and the South sections of the
Great North Road, at peak times for over a year, and these queues stretch as far as Sandy
lane. This has caused problems for those living in the area and also for visitors to our city.
Can you give us the competion date for the project so that residents will know the end point
of the misery they currently face each day?
 Residents recall the signs for the scheme going up on Valentine's Day 2014 and were not
told at the time that the project would take over 16 months to complete. We wish to know
the details of the project in terms of the original project length and cost as we have heard
that the project has now overrun and is over budget. We would also like to know what
incentives or penalties are in the contracts for the project and have they been invoked?
 People are suffering delays and inconveniences every day, yet we observe that work stops at
lunchtime on Fridays. But then people see work restart on Saturdays and Sunday. This leads
to speculation about weekend premium working and can lead people to feel that this is
adding insult to injury. Do you have any comments about this situation?
 What is the policy on the removal of cones after work has been completed? We have
observed a number of occasions where cones have been left in place after work has been
completed. This leads to drivers getting more frustrated, and often leads to them speeding
after clearing the roadworks probably because their journeys have been delayed.
 And are you aware that recently the narrowing of the road by the roundabout on Broadway
West has created queues of traffic back almost to Wansbeck Road?
 There was a lack of consultation with residents living in the area and this has led to workmen
making 'mistakes', such as placing a Belisha Beacon in the middle of the entrance to
someone's drive. Why was there no consultation with residents?
 Ward Cllrs asked to see the plans before the work started on the Great North Road but were
told that they hadn't been drawn up. And yet the work started before there were plans,
why was this allowed to happen? Is it now becoming policy for work to begin without plans
being drawn up and consulted on?
 Residents living in the houses facing onto the Great North Road have been able to park in
front of their homes for years, despite this not being a designated parking area. Now the
space available for them to park has been drastically reduced, why is that? And where are
they now meant to park?
 Elderly and disabled residents living in the flats facing onto the Great North Road have told
us that they are going to have great difficulty getting taxis or ambulances to pick them up
from outside of their homes now that the cycle lanes have been protected. What are these
residents to do when they are ill or unable to walk? Could you please provide us with the
Disabililities Impact Statement undertaken for this project so we can see whether this issue
was identified and what mitigation planned. If no impact assessment was undertaken can
you please explain why not?
 Residents, of all ages, are terrified at the prospect of the shared spaces around the bus
shelters. We all acknowledge that cyclists should be kept safe but residents regularly inform
us of how speeding cyclists have nearly knocked them over. I appreciate the fact that a cycle
may cause less damage than a car, but how are we to explain to an elderly resident that they
have been knocked off their feet, and possibly quite seriously injured, so that cyclists can be
safe? Are we not replacing one problem with another in this case? Also until recently we
weren't informed of this plan to have shared space around bus shelters. It does appear that
a high speed cycle track is being constructed behind bus shelters. What thought has been
given to the safety of residents?
 We are being told by residents that getting to the shops, either ASDA or shops on the High
Street, is becoming very difficult. What are residents meant to do for their shopping? I
know that residents are now looking to travel to other shopping areas, such as Morpeth, so
how is this going to help local shops? And this situation will probably get much worse when
some spaces disappear from Salters Road car park. Who is looking into how this difficult
situation can be alleviated?
 Hollywood Avenue isn't in Parklands Ward but Salters Bridge is, so why weren't Parklands
Ward Cllrs informed of the plans to close the bridge?
 How will the plans for Haddricks Mill and Blue House Roundabout impact on our residents?
No one has yet given us any details yet.
 We have asked to see the simulation for the total system as completed from the A1 to Blue
House Roundabout, so that we can see the overall impact of everything on total traffic flows
and journey times. When is this to be shown to us? And will residents be able to see it?
 After all of this work has been completed we are being told, by cyclists, that they won't use
the new facilities as they don't trust them. And we have seen no evidence that the 11 year
olds, that we have been told that the scheme is aimed at, will be attracted to cycle down the
Great North Road. So, many of our residents are already thinking that all of this is just a
white elephant. Have you any evidence that this scheme will attract the many new cyclists it
is designed to appeal to?
I could go on but instead I would like to invite you to attend the next Parklands Ward Cttee to
answer these questions, and any others that residents and Cllrs have. I do hope that you will attend
as what is happening in Gosforth at the moment is of huge concern to a large number of people and
is costing a lot of money.