Monday, 06 April 2020

Speeding drivers could kill child, warn villagers

A CHILD could be killed if no action is taken to stop drivers speeding near Goring Primary School, say residents.

The parish council has budgeted up to £1,000 towards a traffic survey in Wallingford Road after parents and neighbours raised concerns.

If this confirms there is a problem the council can present the findings to Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, and Thames Valley Police asking that something is done.

The county could decide to improve the signage or to repair the broken radar signs which light up to remind drivers of the 30mph limit.

It could even impose a statutory 20mph restriction, although this is unlikely.

The police could be asked to carry out more regular speed checks.

Several residents attended a parish council meeting last week to say that they had been complaining for some time but the problem was now urgent.

In 2016, a boy suffered a broken leg when was hit by a car as he was crossing Wallingford Road on his way to the school.

Following a community fundraising campaign, the county council installed new lights which flash during the morning and afternoon school runs, when an advisory 20mph limit applies.

However, villagers say the speeding problem persists and that it is worst outside the school as it is at the bottom of a dip where the pavement is narrow.

Peter Phillips, of Wallingford Road, told the meeting: “Speeding is at an appalling level now and it has been many years since there has been proper police surveillance in that area.

“We have both a primary school and an ageing population yet there’s no effective traffic-calming. The raised bumps are pointless as everyone straddles them to protect their cars.

“You’ve got lots of young children or mums with pushchairs and I suspect, sadly, that there will be a serious accident or fatality before too long.

“Everyone seems to pass the buck but if there is a tragedy then responsibility will fall on everyone who failed to do what they could.”

Iestyn Llewellyn, of Springhill Road, who leads the 1st Goring scouts and is a police officer, said: “The pavement is so narrow and the traffic is so fast that you have to push your children into people’s front gardens or hedges at times. People, including me, have been hit by wing mirrors and have reported it to the police.

“It’s all very good doing things to make the village look pretty but this is a shambles and someone will get hurt. It’s not an issue which has only just arisen and we need to be protecting our children.”

Another resident suggested fixing the old radar signs but was told it was unclear which council owned them. Last year the parish council discussed fixing them at a cost of up to £4,000 but deferred a decision.

Councillor Kevin Bulmer, who chairs the council, said: “We need to have hard evidence of a problem before the county council will take action.

“We are aware of these concerns and can gather the necessary evidence to ask the county what the best steps would be.

“I live on Springhill Road so I’ve seen this myself and live with that challenge day by day.

“Unfortunately, and with every respect, you can’t magically force things to happen and improvements don’t come overnight. You won’t hear me disagreeing with you — it seems the traffic-calming measures we’ve got so far aren’t enough and we should try to do something more effective.”

He said any measures would probably have to be funded by the parish council but would require the county council’s consent.

Councillor David Brooker said he had been lobbying for improvements to Goring high street for years and found that obtaining the permission was “like wading through treacle”.

Councillor Bryan Urbick said South Stoke Parish Council had purchased mobile speed warning signs which also log vehicles’ speeds and the county council had advised more traffic-calming measures after reviewing the data.

He added: “We could ask about having the limit reduced to 20mph, which I would love and I’m sure residents would support, but they’ll probably say ‘no’.”

• Goring Parish Council is to ask the Oxfordshire County Council to paint double-yellow lines along a 20mph stretch of Lockstile Way from its junction with Wallingford Road. This is a popular crossing point and reducing the number of parked cars should improve visibility for pedestrians.

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