Campaign on Brancepeth death road goes to MPs
Jan 17 2009 by Ben Guy, The Journal
CAMPAIGNERS battling for vital safety measures after a woman was killed on a busy road are to see their fight taken up in Parliament.
For years people living in Brancepeth, near Durham, have been striving to make the A690 a safer road.
A major commuter route for drivers heading to and from Durham City, the road splits the village in two.
But last November their efforts intensified after pensioner Ellen Hendry, 81, was knocked down trying to cross the 40mph road a few metres from her home in Russell Close.
She died after being knocked down by an off-roader driven by a 40-year-old man from Weardale. There is no suggestion he was speeding.
Mrs Hendry’s death came hours after residents handed in a petition of more than 200 names to highways bosses, raising concerns about danger on the single carriageway.
Now campaigners are seeing some progress in their fight after MP Roberta Blackman-Woods agreed to present the petition in Parliament next week.
Brancepeth Parish Council chairman Coun John Jackson said: “After years, this matter will now be taken forward at a higher level.
“There wasn’t a single person that would not sign the petition and the community support to change the speed limit is very strong.
“The area is dangerous and we have already had one death on the road. Something needs to be done.
“We are still waiting for the council to carry out its road survey and have now been told by a traffic engineer that a national review could see the A690 changed to a 60mph zone.”
The community wants to see the speed limit on the road reduced, a crossing installed and illuminated speed signs erected.
Durham County Council acting head of highway management Dave Wafer said: “It is the council’s intention to conduct a traffic speed survey on that stretch of the A690 through Brancepeth and to work with the police to establish whether, in light of the speed survey findings, any action may be necessary to address the concerns of local people.
“We have no intention of increasing the speed limit to 60mph. The only thing under consideration is whether to lower the limit to 30 or keep it at 40.”
Police are investigating Mrs Hendry’s death. No one has been arrested.
The area is dangerous and we have already had one death on the road. Something needs to be done