Sunday, 14 August 2022

Triple action to stop drivers speeding on entrance road

A PINCH point, refuge and vehicle-activated speed sign could be installed in a Henley street to make it safer for pedestrians to cross.

Residents have complained for years about the speed of traffic in Gravel Hill and about the narrow pavement outside number 43.

Oxfordshire County Council has proposed three possible solutions as follows:

l A vehicle activated sign to be installed on a lamppost behind the “Welcome to Henley” sign on the approach to town at a cost of about £7,000, plus consultation and design.

l A pinch point to be located adjacent to number 43 Gravel Hill to help widen the pavement and slow traffic at a cost of about £12,000, plus consultation and design.

l A pedestrian refuge to ve placed towards the junction with Hop Gardens and Paradise Road at a cost of about £9,000, plus consultation and design.

A report by Cath Adams, an administrator for Henley Town Council, says: “The engineers at the county council identified the pinch point as the measure which would give the most benefit.

“The wider pavement would improve safety for pedestrians and permit wheelchairs and pushchairs to remain on the pavement, while also serving to slow down traffic.”

She said the county council was willing to fund half the cost of a pinch point but the rest would need to come from the town council.

The town council would also need to carry out a “mini-consultation” with residents of Gravel Hill from the top of Market Place to Hop Gardens and Milton Close as well as Satwant Deol, principal of The Henley College.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s town and community committee town and county Councillor David Nimmo Smith said he favoured a pinch point. He said: “What I want to see put in is the width restrictor, the pinch point for vehicles, then we can move to the refuge and the 30mph sign. The concern is the speed of traffic coming down the hill.”

Deputy Mayor Will Hamilton wanted the pinch point and a refuge.

He said: “This is one of the streets in Henley where we don’t have traffic-calming.

“We should do the refuge as well because there have been concerns about children crossing there.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann said he supported the pinch point but wasn’t sure a refuge would be used.

He added: “I don’t like the sign as I don’t think they add much value and they look horrible.”

Councillor Lorraine Hillier said that the head of Henley police had said that he was in favour of vehicle-activated speed signs because they were effective.

The committee agreed to recommend going ahead with all three options rather than doing them one at a time. Cllr Hamilton, who chairs the council’s finance committee, said that up to £20,000 could be allocated for the work from the traffic-calming budget.

A final decision will be made by the full council next month.

Meanwhile, the committee agreed to approach the owner of the Takhar wine mart and shop in Greys Road in a fresh bid to persuade him to agree to have a pedestrian crossing outside.

Amardeep Takhar has rejected previous requests, saying the crossing would mean the parking spaces outside the shop would have to go and that would cost him custom.

Cllr Hillier said: “I would have thought he would like a crossing outside his shop because that leads people into his shop.”

Cllr Hamilton said he was concerned that the council could spend £5,000 on a design and consultation only for Mr Takhar to object to it.

Councillor David Eggleton said that there was a crossing in King’s Road which was “half the size” of the crossing being proposed for Greys Road which could be used instead.

Cllr Reissmann said: “There is still scope to have a discussion.”

He suggested speaking to the county council’s highways officers about a solution that allowed a crossing parking outside the shop.

Parents of pupils at Sacred Heart Primary School have been calling for a crossing for years. They say it would make the children’s walk to and from the school in Greys Hill less risky.   

A zebra crossing would cost about £30,000, which would have to be paid for by the town council.

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