Earsdon Road traffic lights have created an accident black spot

The new traffic lights in Earsdon Road were designed by an ‘expert’, so they must be good, mustn’t they?

Well, yes if you want a change from free-flowing traffic at 50mph to stop-start at 20mph.

And – as I pointed out to North Tyneside’s traffic department three months ago – yes if you want a new accident black spot (no slip road into the estate, instead a chicane, sudden narrowing of both carriageways with kerbs to smash up car wheels, and yet another cycleway crossing point to persuade cyclists to use the road instead).

I confidently predict repeated small accidents before the penny drops.

It is incomprehensible that North Tyneside did not insist on the entrance to West Park being opposite the entrance to the Wellfield estate, with a simple large roundabout giving access to both from Earsdon Road.

Interestingly, a (different) ‘expert’ asserted 18 months ago, at the appeal for planning permission for West Park, that no major changes would be required to the road, just some re-designation of lanes and (possibly) traffic lights at the junction with Sandringham Drive in place of the present small roundabout.

This was part of the case on which the appeal was granted, in spite of my own attempts to show that this was nonsense.

But the Inspector apparently accepted the expert’s view on the matter, together with another expert’s assertion that ‘executive’ housing of this type was much in demand – even though the houses do not conform to anyone’s definition of ‘executive’ (and any executive who buys one will be going seriously downmarket!).

I believe North Tyneside has grounds to demand that the West Park site be re-planned, to eliminate the disastrous new junction (and also to meet other objectives for which I argued at the planning appeal, like the mixing of housing types nowadays considered desirable, maintaining the wildlife corridor round into Monkseaton Drive, and an uninterrupted off-road cycleway).

But given that the council’s officers seem to have no strategic vision, and to have rolled over and accepted every demand from Taylor Wimpey, I am not expecting them to defend the community’s long-term interests, rather than the developer’s profit.

Dr AM Hulme

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