Monday, 25 June 2018

Campaigners claim bollards victory

BOLLARDS are set to be installed on a narrow stretch of pavement in Henley after years of campaigning by residents

BOLLARDS are set to be installed on a narrow stretch of pavement in Henley after years of campaigning by residents, writes James Burton.

Oxfordshire County Council has offered to place six along Bell Street between Rupert House School and the junction with Bell Lane.

Householders say they are needed to stop cars mounting the shallow pavement, which they fear is risking pedestrians’ lives.

They say it also damages the historic York stone slabs, which on one occasion they paid to have repaired.

The highways authority has turned down previous requests but agreed to provide two following a car crash last month.

Resident Sandra Harrow, who witnessed the accident, is providing another four which were given to her when her garden was refurbished. But before making a final decision, the county council will seek approval from South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning officers and Henley Town Council as it is in a conservation area.

Last month, a van driving north along the pavement hit a car that was pulling out of Bell Lane, which joins Bell Street on a blind, sharp corner.

Nobody was hurt but the car was badly damaged and the van missed the front passenger area, where a young child was sitting, by only a few inches.

Ms Harrow reported the incident to David Nimmo Smith, who is a Henley county councillor and Oxfordshire’s highways member, and he asked officers to investigate.

She said: “I heard the screech of brakes then this massive bang so I went outside to see what had happened.

“Luckily nobody was hurt but the lady driving the car was badly shaken up. It could have been a lot worse. That was the final straw â?? it was the accident I’d been warning was going to happen for some time.”

All six bollards will be made of cast iron and will be designed and painted in keeping with their surroundings. Ms Harrow’s will be refurbished and repainted.

Ms Harrow said: “We’ve been concerned about it for some time because so many children walk along that pavement. I’m glad something’s finally being done but it’s taken at least four years. I’ve asked many times before but sometimes I didn’t even get a response.”

She said it would also protect the historic character of the street.

Mrs Harrow added: “Cars are constantly damaging the slabs and in some cases they’ve just been replaced by asphalt. This is a beautiful, historic part of town and we need to do more to protect it. One time we all paid £75 for a stone to be repaired and it had been broken again within a few days.”

Councillor Nimmo Smith, who is also a town and district councillor, said the work hadn’t been carried out previously because of a lack of funding.

He said: “It was a no-brainer to accept Mrs Harrow’s offer of four bollards. It addresses the concerns of the people living in that street so I’m very happy to support it. Having got this far I would hate to think that there would be any objections. I’m sure the county will design it sensitively and hope it will go through smoothly.”

Residents of nearby Northfield End have also raised concerns over speeding. They say many drivers break the 30mph limit as they head out of the village towards Fair Mile.

In July, a young driver smashed into the back of a parked car belonging to town councillor Dylan Thomas, who lives in the street.

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