Saturday, 20 August 2022

‘Drivers put lives at risk in dead end’

DRIVERS are putting lives at risk by going along a dead end road in Sonning Common, a resident claims.

Maria Boyle wants a sign put up to warn motorists that Pages Orchard, off Ashford Avenue, is a no through road.

But Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, has denied there is a safety problem.

Mrs Boyle, who has lived in the street for more than two years, said that drivers of delivery vans and people who do not know the area often used it in error.

The problem was particularly acute in the run-up to Christmas when a lot of deliveries were made and was exacerbated by the large number of cars parked in the road as few of the homes had driveways.

Speaking at a meeting of Sonning Common Parish Council last week, Ms Boyle said: “In the last two years I have witnessed no less than 13 occasions where a car has come up Pages Orchard without a reason which put people’s safety in jeopardy. A lot of people who live in the area are quite elderly. 

“The grass verges have been allowed to grow quite high so the children would not be seen by the drivers coming out of the houses.

“There have been so many occasions when I have contacted the highways department to tell them how dangerous it is and how it is an accident waiting to happen. It needs to be addressed. If we were to get the sign then I think it would stop the problem.”

David Bartholomew, the village’s representative on the county council, said everyone was aware of the parking issues in the area.

But he added: “Our officer has assessed the situation there and not identifed any underlying safety issues. I appreciate Ms Boyle has a different view but the officer does not see any immediate concern.”

He said his council would not pay for the signage and if the work was to be done it would have to be paid for by the parish council.

Parish councillor Douglas Kedge said he would like to know what other residents thought and suggested that they contacted the parish council or that Ms Boyle started a petition.

Ms Boyle responded: “I have spoken to other people and they may be willing to come to the next meeting.”

Councillor Leigh Rawlins said Ashford Avenue was used as a cut-through to get from one side of the village to the other. If their way became blocked they might try to get through using Pages Orchard but they wouldn’t make that mistake more than once.

The council agreed to consider Ms Boyle’s request at its next meeting.

It will also consider a request by another villager who wrote to Cllr Bartholomew requesting speed restrictions in Kennylands Road, where the limit is 30mph.

Cllr Bartholomew said: “I told them speed enforcement was a matter for the police but in terms of physically restraining traffic there are ways, such as build-outs and speed cushions. 

“I said it was a matter for the parish council and that it was not something I could do at the request of one person. There may be many more people who do not want it.”

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