‘Switch off ‘shambles’ traffic lights’

ANGER ... Coun John Wood in Ocean Road, South Shields.
ANGER ... Coun John Wood in Ocean Road, South Shields.

AN angry councillor has labelled a controversial new traffic lights scheme in South Shields town centre “a shambles” – and called for them to be switched off.

Coun John Wood made his views on the “debacle” known to senior council officers at a showdown meeting yesterday.

He wants a commission set up so that traders, motorists and pedestrians can have their say on the scheme at the junction of Ocean Road and Anderson Street.

The move comes after more than 500 residents signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of a roundabout at the junction, which was replaced by the traffic lights on April 7.

Some drivers say the overhaul has led to an increase in journey times – with as many as 100 cars stuck in queues waiting for lights to go to green.

Coun Wood, who is standing for Labour in Beacon and Bents at next month’s local elections, said: “I am not content with the way this has been handled, and I have made my views known to senior officers.

“I have requested that the chair of the council’s overview scrutiny committee calls a commission on this debacle at which traders, motorists and pedestrians can make their views known and officers can justify their actions.

“I have never deviated from the belief that the roundabout should be retained, and the commission would have to establish why this decision was made, who took the decision and who was consulted.

“Until this issue is considered further, I believe a roundabout, even temporary, should be installed and the lights switched off.”

The call comes a day after the Gazette reported that council bosses had launched a review of the traffic lights scheme – with “all options” said to be on the table.

Earlier this month, Ali Hayder, an Ocean Road resident who is standing as a Conservative candidate in Beacon and Bents, also called on the council to re-think its decision.

He said: “Nine out of 10 residents I have spoken to are against the new traffic light system.”

A council spokesman said: “South Tyneside Council is looking to make changes to the highway at Anderson Street after listening to councillors who have raised concerns expressed by residents, visitors and motorists over the last two weeks.

“We will be looking at all options to put in place improvements at this busy junction.”

* John Stephen Clarke (UKIP) and Bill Troupe (Lib Dem) are also standing in Beacon and Bents at the local elections on Thursday, May 22.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul