Friday, 20 July 2018

Father calls for crossing on road ‘before someone dies’

A FATHER has warned that someone could be knocked down and killed unless a crossing is

A FATHER has warned that someone could be knocked down and killed unless a crossing is installed at a busy road junction.

Mark Jones wrote to the parish council voicing his concerns about the safety of pedestrians trying to cross the road between the junctions of Church Road and Oxford Road and Castle Square abd Watlingtion Road..

Mr Jones and his family, who have full view of the latter junction from their home in Castle Square, have  witnessed five serious accidents and several near-misses over the last four years.

Some of these involved children, parents and staff from Benson Primary School.

Mr Jones wrote: “On many occasions we have watched teachers and pupils try to cross the road and mothers with pushchairs running across with fear.”

The council has allocated £1,500 for flashing road signs but Mr Jones said a pedestrian crossing was needed.

Speaking at a council meeting last week, he said: “I’ve seen so many people come close to getting killed.

“Hand on heart, I think somebody will get killed in the next few years on that road if something more substantial than flashing road signs isn’t done.

“I don’t want to be at this meeting in another year’s time and somebody has died. Doing nothing can’t make it safer. I’ve seen mums almost getting hit by lorries and cars. Traffic does not slow down, even for small children with teachers. Flashing road signs aren’t going to be enough. I’ve got a small child.

“When I’ve tried to cross — and I’m pretty fast — I’ve had to go up to the Three Horseshoes pub and cross there to get to the Co-op.”

Mr Jones said that only a few weeks ago there was a head-on collision at the junction and several ambulances were called to the scene.

“It’s not like nothing has happened, these are proper, serious accidents,” he said. “That accident must have been recorded somewhere — why can’t something happen as a result of it?” Pat Peers, who chairs the council, said: “This is something the council has been fighting for 10 years.”

She said the council had asked Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, for crossings on the B4009, near the post box, and  near the Three Horseshoes, as well as a traffic island but these were all refused on the grounds there was a lack of  vision for drivers.

A zebra crossing was also refused due to a lack of pavement space.

Cllr Peers said it was hoped the flashing signs would make it a lot clearer for drivers to see where the crossing points for children are.

The council, which formed a traffic advisory group three years ago, also wants to remove signs that are no longer relevant and update the ones that are, which the county council has agreed to. Vice-chairman Jon Fowler said: “Unfortunately, in this day and age, the county council seems to work off statistics and until there’s an accident they won’t regard it as a high priority.”

Councillor Mark Gray, the village’s county councillor, said he had walked around the area with Mark Francis, the county’s senior traffic technician, earlier this year.

He said: “They say the splay isn’t good enough. It means that a crossing would be more dangerous than how things are at the moment.”

Parish councillor Philip Murray added: “We have done our best to address this but there’s nothing available to the parish council. We can’t make decisions about the roads.”

Councillor Michael Winton said vehicles travelled at speeds of up to 60mph in Oxford Road, where he lives.

The meeting heard that the county council had agreed to spend more money on speed checks.

The council agreed to arrange a meeting with Mr Francis to look at the issue again.

• Benson Parish Council has decided not to pave over a small garden at the front of the parish hall. Councillor Fiona Lovesey said the halls committee felt it looked “scruffy” and was not maintained but Councillor Jon Fowler responded: “There are going to be enough areas of this village paved over in the coming years. I think as a parish council we should be setting an example.”

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