Thursday, 03 December 2020

Safety of pedestrians questioned

CALLS have been made to improve safety at a busy junction in Henley following a series of near-misses involving pedestrians

CALLS have been made to improve safety at a busy junction in Henley following a series of near-misses involving pedestrians.

Residents and councillors have raised the issue of drivers speeding in Bell Street as they turn the corner into New Street, where the speed limit is 30mph.

The latest incident involved a pedestrian who fell over when a lorry mounted the pavement as the driver came round the bend.

Joan Bland, who runs the Asquiths teddy bear shop at the junction and saw what happened, said the man was on his way to visit his son, a chef at the Bull pub in Bell Street, when he crossed New Street from the northern side.

“He and his wife had to run as a lorry came at speed around the corner,” she said.

“He tripped on the uneven road surface and ended up on the pavement, breaking his fall on one of my plant pots.

“Witnesses and I called the emergency services and a first response official came.” Mrs Bland, who is a South Oxfordshire district councillor, wrote to David Nimmo Smith, a town councillor and Oxfordshire County Council’s member for highways, following the incident in March.

She said: “It is a very dangerous corner. Please can we have stop signs for traffic in Bell Street to give pedestrians time to cross?

“May we have bollards or cones to stop HGVs and buses mounting the pavements? Please can we have a 20mph speed limit?”

Town councillor Dylan Thomas said he had a similar experience involving his young son when a van mounted the pavement near Savills in Bell Street.

Cllr Thomas, who lives in Northfield End, said: “I had to push my son into the wall because of a van mounting the pavement because it was speeding. There is no traffic-calming. It’s very tight so drivers have to start braking sharply. The problem is constantly being reported.”

In December 2014, a resident of New Street called for safety measures at the junction after being injured in a collision with a van.

Judi-Ann Roscoe was crossing New Street when she was struck by the van turning right from Bell Street.

The impact sent her flying into the road and left her with painful bruises.

Mrs Roscoe, who is in her seventies, said: “The van crashed into me and I flew into the road. The driver stopped and said, ‘sorry, I didn’t see you’ but I was wearing a long, red coat.

“Had he stopped to yield at the junction he would have seen me.”

Mrs Roscoe said she had asked Oxfordshire County Council to improve safety measures in New Street many times but to no avail.

The issue was raised at last week’s meeting of the town council’s traffic advisory committee.

Keith Stenning, the county council’s area steward, said there were “issues” with the corner and that it was possible the chef’s father had been “caught out” by the speed of the traffic.

But he added: “It’s an  A-road, it is where you expect traffic to be.”

He said a speed survey carried out further along the A4130 near the junction with Leicester Close had shown that if there was a problem it was with outbound traffic.

Chris Hulme, a Thames Valley Police traffic enforcement officer, told the committee: “People going round the bend are probably doing 15mph. I can’t believe that people would speed.”

Hugh Legh, a representative of the Henley Partnership, said: “It is not the speed, it is people mounting the kerb. The problem is that there is a tight bend.”

Cllr Nimmo Smith said there was “no easy answer” and suggested a traffic survey was carried out.

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