Lancashire County Council has been accused of ignoring safety fears over two narrow pavements in Preston.
Concerns have been raised over the footpaths at Broughton roundabout (A6/M55) and at the junction of Blackpool Road and Lea Road.
Lancashire County Council has received complaints about the west side walkway at the junction of the M55 and A6, the Broughton roundabout, part of the oldest section of motorway in the UK, and the way to school for many pupils of Broughton High.
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Children are walking and cycling on the very edge of the path only a few inches from vehicles rushing round the bend to the motorway.
Despite the school’s desire to have a barrier protecting pedestrians at this spot and a long fought formal complaint from Lancashire cyclist Matt Hodges, the council refuses to build a barrier to protect schoolchildren walking to school this way.
Headteacher Chris Morris said, “We would support a barrier to help protect our pupils who walk and cycle this way.”
At the junction of Lea Road and Blackpool Road at Lea, the mainly elderly residents of Charlesway Court have been struggling with the pavement outside their block, which at its narrowest is 55cm wide.
Matt Bowyer, of Hive Block Management, which manages the flats, has offered to share the costs of a project to reduce the gardens around Charlesway Court to create more pavement width, but says the council has refused.
Matt said: “I wish the council would extend this pavement – it is unsafe – the path is seriously narrow and so close to the busy Blackpool Road. I know of several near misses with lorries and their side mirrors.”
Councillor Gillian Oliver, who is county councillor for Lea and speaks for the opposition Labour group on Highways and Transport, said: “This Conservative-run council likes to claim it caters for cyclists and pedestrians, but here are two examples of pedestrians in peril at the older and younger end of Preston’s walking and cycling communities.
“These dangerous places can be fixed at minimal expense to the council. We are only asking that people who walk or cycle are given the same priority in the council’s schemes and spending – and not just a worthy claim in their marketing bumph.”
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National road safety charity Brake called on all councils to design roads and pavements better during Road Safety Week (November 18 – 25).
The charity claims every 20 minutes someone is killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads, and that all these devastating events are preventable.
A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: “We ensure that all new roads are built to modern standards, however there are many locations in Lancashire where roads which were built many years ago have narrow pavements or no pavement at all.
“If there is a record of safety issues at a particular location we will consider measures which may be available to address the issue, however this part of Lea Road has a good safety record, and the wider footway on the opposite side of the road can be used as an alternative to the narrow footway.
“At the same time we would be happy to work with the owner of the property if they wanted to fund work to widen the footway for the benefit of their tenants, and adopt it to be maintained by the county council in the future.
“We have looked at the issues raised about the footway at the Broughton junction and no further action was required, however we will look at it again if the situation changes.”
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