Council U-turn on crossing due to safety fears

PUBLISHED: 06:55 24 January 2019

John Hunter coordinator for Nailsea Speedwatch and Sean Kelly chairman of Nailsea Disability Initiative, at the ageing crossing which is now going to be upgraded.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

John Hunter coordinator for Nailsea Speedwatch and Sean Kelly chairman of Nailsea Disability Initiative, at the ageing crossing which is now going to be upgraded. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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Controversial plans to downgrade a crossing in Nailsea have been reversed, thanks to appeals from community groups and councillors.

John Hunter coordinator for Nailsea Speedwatch and Sean Kelly chairman of Nailsea Disability Initiative, at the ageing crossing which is now going to be upgraded.      Picture: MARK ATHERTONJohn Hunter coordinator for Nailsea Speedwatch and Sean Kelly chairman of Nailsea Disability Initiative, at the ageing crossing which is now going to be upgraded. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

North Somerset Council planned to downgrade a pelican crossing to a zebra crossing in Stock Way South in December – but the move sparked outrage due to safety concerns for elderly and disabled people.

More: Safety fears due to crossing proposal in Nailsea.

John Hunter coordinator for Nailsea Speedwatch and Sean Kelly chairman of Nailsea Disability Initiative, at the ageing crossing which is now going to be upgraded.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTONJohn Hunter coordinator for Nailsea Speedwatch and Sean Kelly chairman of Nailsea Disability Initiative, at the ageing crossing which is now going to be upgraded. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

John Hunter, chairman of the town’s Speedwatch, said: “Following protests from Nailsea Disability Initiative and others and appeals to Nailsea Town Council, the disability manager at North Somerset and the PCC, the decision has been overturned and it is now proposed to upgrade to a puffin crossing.

“This will provide all the safety aspects required for disabled people and some improvements for traffic using Stock Way South.

“Disabled people in Nailsea will be delighted at the change of heart by North Somerset Council to upgrade rather than downgrade the crossing.

“Common sense and protection for vulnerable people has prevailed.

John Hunter coordinator for Nailsea Speedwatch and Sean Kelly chairman of Nailsea Disability Initiative, at the ageing crossing which is now going to be upgraded.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTONJohn Hunter coordinator for Nailsea Speedwatch and Sean Kelly chairman of Nailsea Disability Initiative, at the ageing crossing which is now going to be upgraded. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

“Thank you to all those who helped to secure a good result.”

The crossing was due to be downgraded because the site does not come near the required score for a signalised crossing.

However, McCarthy & Stone is building retirement apartments on the site of the old police station in Stock Way South which will comprise of 42 apartments for people over the age of 60.

People were concerned the new crossing would pose a safety risk to the elderly, disabled and visually impaired.

Mr Hunter said: “For visually impaired people, a crossing with audio signals which indicates it’s safe to cross, or traffic lights which stop traffic, is the safest way to cross.

“With a zebra crossing, there will be no audible sign so you cannot be sure the traffic has stopped.

“It also affects people using wheelchairs as well as older people who take more time to cross.”

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “We listened to the concerns of disabled people in Nailsea and overturned the decision.

“The crossing is going to be upgraded at a cost of £20,000. It’s set to be installed in March or April.”

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