Residents fork out thousands in council road battle

Residents 'Stuart Duffield and Nick Berry are fronting a campaign for traffic calming measures in Longmeanygate, Leyland
Residents 'Stuart Duffield and Nick Berry are fronting a campaign for traffic calming measures in Longmeanygate, Leyland
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  • Longmeanygate residents say speed reduction proposed by Lancashire County Council doesn’t go far enough
  • They’ve coughed up £4,000 to pay for an independent traffic surveyor
  • Expert says that traffic calming measures are needed before another accident occurs

A group of determined Leyland residents have taken the drastic step of forking out thousands of pounds in their fight against the council.

Members of the community living on Longmeanygate say they have had enough of being ‘ignored’ by Lancashire County Council in their battle for road safety improvements.

They have taken matters into their own hands and paid almost £4,000 of their own money for an independent traffic surveyor to compile a 40-page report about what the expert believes is needed on the residential road.

Earlier this year, the council finally agreed that a speed reduction from 60mph to 40mph is needed, but homeowners in the area argue more is required to enforce the new limit, and have been calling for traffic calming measures.

And the report from the surveyor, seen by the Guardian, backs up what the community has been fighting for, suggesting that a one-way priority system should be introduced at the notorious bend, and that creating a pedestrian footpath should also be considered.

The surveyor, from the Development Transport Planning Consultancy, also recommended that a mini-roundabout should be introduced at the Longmeanygate and Midge Hall Lane junction.

He argued that it is ‘unacceptable’ to wait for futher accidents to occur before taking further action.

Resident Stuart Duffield, whose house was smashed into by a speeding drink-driver who died of his injuries in April 2013, said: “Why have we had to go to these lengths as a community?

“We feel like we’ve been hung out to dry by the council, but now we’ve been proven right.

“I don’t understand why these measures couldn’t have been implemented when we started crying out for them years ago. The council has just been pushing us away and ignoring us for years.

“We think they agreed to the 40mph limit to shut us up, but it just doesn’t go far enough, and the independent surveyor has said the same.

“He’s presented the facts, and he’s not biased – he needs to be able to stand by his report if he’s challenged about it by the council.”

Stuart’s neighbour, Nick Berry, added: “As a group, we’re delighted that the council has taken some of what we’ve said on board and is reducing the speed limit, despite what appeared to be reluctance in the early days.

“The speed limit was one of our big goals and we’ve got that now, but it’s not enough – it needs enforcing.

“We feel this section of the road in particular, where the bend is and where the fatal crash happened, is in need of additional measures.

“They need to ensure that the new speed limit is adhered to, to ensure the safety of residents, pedestrians and motorists.

“The report has given us some hope that there are some sensible solutions.

“It’s validated our opinions – it’s an independent source and it enhances our argument that further changes are needed to make this road safe.”

Surveyor Alan Davies found: “The speed limit change is supported but not considered sufficient without further enhancements to support it. It is considered unacceptable to wait until further accidents occur before consideration of traffic management schemes is provided.”

Phil Baird, highways manager for South Ribble at LCC, said the council was not ruling out taking further action.

He said road markings would be refreshed when the new speed limit was imposed this summer and the council would add new ‘slow’ markings at a number of locations.

He added: “Once these measures are in place we’ll review their impact upon vehicle speeds and, if necessary, consider any further action that may be needed.”