Monday, 01 March 2021

Road crossings may finally happen thanks to levy on developers

TWO new pedestrian crossings could be created in Henley.

The town council is considering installing a zebra crossing in Greys Road and a signal crossing in Marlow Road, near Swiss Farm, as well as a pedestrian refuge and a pinch point in Gravel Hill.

The crossing in Greys Road would be between the junctions with Greys Hill and The Close, near the Takhar Wine Mart and shop.

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

Similarly, residents of Swiss Farm have been calling for a crossing close to the entry to the park home site for years.

It would cost between £75,000 and £95,000 to install the crossing as well as construct anti-skid approaches on the road, a new pavement and signal poles.

In March, Henley pub chef Daniel James died when he was in a collision with a gritter lorry in Marlow Road.

Keith Knight, who lives at Swiss Farm, told a meeting of the council’s planning committee: “Swiss Farm has permanent residents and visitors from across the UK and overseas. They are of all ages and some have limited mobility. I feel the council has a duty of care to young and old.”

In Gravel Hill, the pinch point would be at the narrowest point of the street and would give priority to traffic heading down the hill towards the town centre.

Residents of West Street raised concerns that if this went ahead their road would be used by drivers as an alternative and become a rat run. Isabel Kiddy said: “You would just be moving speeding traffic from one part of the system to another.”

Sarah Gurling added: “You are making one road safe to make it more dangerous on another.”

The proposed pedestrian refuge would be near the junction with Hop Gardens and would be marked by illuminated bollards. This work would cost about £27,600.

Martin Waring, who lives in Gravel Hill, said: “The pinch point would be just a couple of yards from my house and I would be against it. I would like to see a 20mph speed limit introduced before we think about spending £20,000 of taxpayers’ money.”

The total cost of all the projects would be almost £170,000. The committee recommended that the council spends £4,100 on surveys and consultations.

Councillor Jane Smewing said this could be funded by the Community Infrastructure Levy, which developers of new homes have to pay, adding: “This is precisely the sort of thing the money should be spent on.”

Councillor Lorraine Hillier added: “If it’s going to save lives then it’s the sort of thing we should be spending the money on.”

Meanwhile, the council has responded to a consultation on plans to reduce the 30mph speed limit in the town centre to 20mph.

Oxfordshire County Council is considering introducing the lower limit in Hart Street, Duke Street, Bell Street, Friday Street, Station Road, Market Place, West Street, King’s Road, Mount View, New Street, Paradise Road and Reading Road.

The committee requested that the 20mph zone be extended to cover St Mark’s Road, St Andrew’s Road, Vicarage Road, Harpsden Road and Hamilton Avenue.

It also wants the 60mph limit in Fair Mile, from the end of the current 30mph limit in Northfield End to just past the junction with Lambridge Wood Road to be reduced to 40mph.

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