Preston girl ‘almost killed’ as locals fear road problems will eventually take lives

“My own daughter was nearly killed a while back, when she was seven. I clocked a driver coming round the corner just [as she] was getting out of the car on the roadside.”

A Preston resident says highways bosses need to provide a safe place for him and his neighbours to park outside their homes before someone is killed.

Billy Gardner is appealing for off-street spaces to be created to serve properties at the junction of Cromwell Road and Watling Street Road in Brookfield. He says that a huge grassed area in front of the houses would make an ideal layby to remove the risk to vehicles – and the people getting in and out of them.

However, Lancashire County Council says that it is unable to fund private parking schemes. The current layout means that locals have to pull up on Cromwell Road itself, close to the busy junction – and Billy says that the situation is putting residents in real danger.

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Billy said: “My neighbour’s car was written off when someone slammed into it when it was parked. What if he or his wife had been getting the shopping out [at the time]? They’d have just been killed. My own daughter was nearly killed a while back, when she was seven. I clocked a driver coming round the corner just [as she] was getting out of the car on the roadside.

“I had to chuck her back in and slam the door – I actually trapped her leg in it. But if I hadn’t done that, he’d have just gone right through her. Plus, when we turn in off Watling Street Road, we’re leaving our indicators on to show that we’re stopping, but [people behind] think we’re just carrying on – when we’re actually trying to get up on the kerb. We’re slamming onto the pavement so the cars behind don’t run into us, so we’re [ruining] our wheels as well.

“I’ve lost about seven or eight electric wing mirrors at about £200 a time – the road is just a rat run.”

Highway safety officials consider Cromwell Road – which runs from Watling Street Road through to Ribbleton Avenue – to have a good accident record, with just one slight injury recorded in the past five years. However, Billy claims that many incidents are not even reported – and says that the lack of safe parking for him and some of the vulnerable people living alongside him is much more than an inconvenience.

“We’ve got two disabled neighbours – one of them has had a major stroke and is having to walk the distance to and from the car. My Dad and brother-in-law have also had strokes and they don’t even like coming round here anymore because of the parking.

“If [the county council] don’t want to build a layby, they could use the path down the side to make a road so that we could get our cars onto driveways [that we could create] in front of our homes. But they have given people little laybys off Watling Street Road, where there used to be grass tracks – so I can’t understand why they won’t do the same for us,” Billy said.

The grassed area on Cromwell Road is owned by the Community Gateway Association, although the surrounding properties no longer belong to the social housing association. LancsLive understands that the organisation has said that it would be willing to enter into negotiations about transferring the plot to the county council.

Preston East division representative at County Hall, Anna Hindle, says that irrespective of the authority’s general policy on off-street parking, the residents on Cromwell Road “warrant special attention”. However, County Cllr Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport at Lancashire County Council, said: “I visited some of the residents of Cromwell Road – and our highways team have been looking at whether there may be a need for some minor changes to on-street parking in this area.

“While I understand and sympathise with the parking issues, there are many areas of the county with similar pressures on parking due to the growth in vehicles on our roads. Part of the problem with Cromwell Road is people using it as a rat run – and I urge anyone who rat runs to have more care and consideration for local residents on their journeys.

“As the highway authority, we will not allocate public funds to create private parking off-road, and also do not recommend removing grass verges to create extra parking. Grass verges provide important highway and environmental benefits, including improved natural drainage and green open space.”

By

Paul FaulknerLocal democracy reporter
  • 05:05, 2 SEP 2022

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