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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Parents demand action over 'rat run'

Angry residents are demanding that urgent action be taken to deal with a rat run before someone is seriously hurt.

Scotby rat run photo
Residents, parents and children gather on Scotby Road between Durranhill and Rosehill

Campaigners have reported a number of near-misses involving pedestrians and claim there have already been a number of crashes along the route, some in which pets have died.

Parents in particular have raised concerns about the dangers of walking their children to school on the route between Durranhill and Scotby, on the edge of Carlisle, They claim that vehicles are having to mount the already narrow pavements to get past.

Some residents and local councillor Robert Betton say the fight to tackle speeding and other issues on the road has lasted more than a decade, with the county council refusing to take significant action.

Cumbria County Council says it is aware of the issues and that work will be considered in the future.

One of those concerned is Joanne Wilkinson, who lives in Barley Edge, just off Durranhill Road.

Every day she walks along the dangerous path to take her two seven-year-old boys, Finn and Theo, to school.

She said that parents walking their children to school fear an accident will happen one day.

“The path is just a single lane as such, meaning there’s not enough room for parents and children,” she added.

“It is very narrow and I believe local people have been campaigning for 10 years to get something done. It is a very thin, useless path which we are supposed to walk our kids to school along, considering we are encouraged to not use cars.

“There is just not enough room and if you are on there with your children then it is hair-raising with everything rushing past you.

“If someone is walking the other way then someone will have to walk on the road to get around you.”

Joanne added that a wider footpath has been included near a new housing development in Scotby “putting people before cars” and wants to see a similar path built in the Durranhill area.

Botcherby councillor Robert Betton says he has pushed the county council to make improvements for many years. He said the pavement alongside the road is not the required specification and action needs to be taken.

“The issues go back even further than some think, about 20 years,” he said.

“There are a lot of concerns, the main one being the speeding on the stretch. Local residents have been expressing these concerns to the highways department but they have been ignored, they are not listening to us. They shouldn’t be penny pinching with people’s lives.

“That road is used as a rat run and people abuse it every day. I’m looking forward to working with the police on the issue as they have recognised the speed problems. If there is a car and a bus on the road, I’ve heard that buses have had to go on the pavement to get around It’s very serious. You can’t get a buggy on the pavement and parents and pensioners have been nearly mowed down.”

Mr Betton said his concerns were also fuelled by potential plans to build more houses in the area, which has been identified as a preferred development area in the city council’s local plan.

A county council spokesman said: “We work closely with the police in response to concerns raised about speeding traffic on the county’s roads. We are currently assessing vehicle speeds in this area with a view to carrying out a full traffic survey later this year.

“The local member raised the issue of the footway at a recent Carlisle local committee meeting and it was agreed that a footway widening scheme would be prepared and considered for inclusion in a future highway works programme.

“The council already carries out work every year to remove vegetation that encroaches on to the footway and can reduce its width.”

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