Safety fears spark call for action

By Tim Clarke 22/12 Updated: 22/12 16:43

Buy photos » Neil Laurenson has called for action to be taken to improve the safety of Bilford Road’s junction with Astwood Road. Picture by Nick Hands 5011023NHR.

ELDERLY people and schoolchildren are dicing with death when they try to cross a busy junction in Worcester, according to a campaigner.

Neil Laurenson is leading the calls for action to be taken to make the junction of Bilford Road with Astwood Road safer for pedestrians, amid growing concerns that someone will soon be killed.

It is frequently crossed by pupils from the nearby Tudor Grange Academy as well as people trying to get to the Costcutter convenience store on the corner of the junction.

Some residents claim near misses are a daily occurrence but so far the county council’s Highways Department has declined to make any alterations to the junction.

Mr Laurenson was first made aware of people’s concerns when he stood as the Green Party’s city council candidate for the St Stephen ward in May, and he has continued to press for action despite not being elected.

A number of ideas have been tabled including adding a pedestrian crossing or reducing the speed limit to 20mph.

“A lot of people are really concerned about it because they know people that have been hit here. I spoke to about 50 people one day and about one in ten of those knew someone who had been hit, which I thought was incredible,” he said.

Resident George Richards, whose home overlooks the junction, said he had already seen a couple of collisions since moving into his house in May, including a teenager being knocked off his moped.

He said: “You certainly need something to slow down the vehicles as they come round the bend from the Rainbow Hill end because it’s quite a sharp bend there. The nearest crossing points are in Rainbow Hill and Perdiswell which is quite a way for people to walk.”

“There are lots of near misses going on - I would say a couple every hour, every day of the week. It is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or killed here because it’s a lottery for anyone to try and cross.”

Another resident, who asked not be named, added: “Elderly people sometimes have to run for their lives to get across it.”

Coun John Smith OBE, the county council’s cabinet member for Highways and Transport said a speed survey had been carried out and the results had been considered by West Mercia Police.

“They have indicated they would be unable to allocate the required enforcement resources at this location and therefore, no further action is being proposed at this time,” he added.

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