Calls for action on 'racetrack' route after car smash leaves cottage in village near Corby uninhabitable

Generations of the Keightley family have lived in the cottage for more than 150 years

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 12:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 12:38 pm

A great-grandmother has demanded action is taken after a car smashed into her kitchen in a village near Corby - leaving her too scared to return to her cottage.

Ellen Keightley has lived in Uppingham Road, Caldecott, for more than 60 years during which time her house and garden - on a sharp bend - has been hit over nine separate occasions by out-of-control vehicles.

A long-term campaigner for road safety measures in the village, Mrs Keightley has joined calls from Caldecott Parish Council for issues on the A6003 main road from Corby to Uppingham to be taken seriously.

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The cottage and the car that crashed into the home was wedged for four months

The 80-year-old has now moved out of her home to a nearby mobile home for safety after a Corby driver smashed through a fence and a brick and stone wall, ending up in the conservatory kitchen extension at the back of her house.

She said: "It's a fatality waiting to happen. Lorries and cars straddle the white line. I've picked up people from the middle of the roads in the night from accidents, I've so many dreadful memories.

"It used to be a safe haven in the garden but now I won't have my great-grandchildren in the cottage. My head is going dizzy thinking about it. I don't want to go back home - I've just had enough. What we would like is zebra crossings in the village for the children. People have to drive their children to the park. It's terrifying."

Calling for traffic calming measures is her son Tom Keightley, who had been in the kitchen just moments before the Lexus demolished the counter where he had been preparing food for his mum's 80th birthday party.

Ellen Keightley with her dog Bubbles standing in the area where the car landed

He said: "When I heard the bang I thought it was an IED (improvised explosive device) and I was back in Afghanistan. I dived under the table. Mum was screaming from upstairs.

"It's like a racetrack because of all the bends and curves. All these high-performance cars see the signs for 30mph but they don't slow down.

"We would like speed and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras. We are the forgotten village."

The A6003 that winds through the village is classed as a strategic route for emergency services and although other towns and villages in Rutland have speed humps, rules have since changed meaning they are not allowed to be installed.

Two cars collided outside the cottage in 2019 demolishing the front wall

Rutland County Council has recently approved a new safety scheme for the village, to add an anti-skid road surface to the bend, rumble strips, a larger chevron sign, and improved signage planned in the summer.

As a founder member of CRAG (Caldecott Residents Action Group), Mrs Keightley has long-wished for a bypass and has been supported by Margaret Bennett, chairman of Caldecott Parish Council.

She said: "We are unanimous. The middle of the village is so narrow two lorries can't pass. Vehicles are getting bigger but the road is the same size.

"Ideally we would like a speed camera but so far I've not had a response. They are going to install a high-friction surface, rumble strips, better signs and a chevron at the corner but we don't think it goes far enough.

Margaret Bennett chairman of Caldecott Parish Council

"The traffic lights at the Mill Lane end of the village slow people down but at Ellen's end motorists speed up going out and are speeding as they come in.

"We had three zebra crossings approved about four years ago but they didn't go ahead.

"With the new 3,500 homes planned for Corby an element will come though the village. There are also huge lorries, from the same companies that use the road. We are going to contact regular hauliers that use the village to see if they will use an alternative route."

A spokesman for Rutland County Council said: "Road safety is an important issue for the council and we have been working on a scheme to address the serious concerns that many Caldecott residents have about speeding through their village.

"In response to the incidents that have caused property damage in Caldecott, our Highways and Transport Working Group has recently approved a new safety scheme. This will involve the introduction of a new 40mph buffer zone on the way into Caldecott from Uppingham, along with new anti-skid road surfacing, road studs, markings and enhanced signage.

"These improvements are due to be made this summer, after which we will continue to monitor the road to assess their impact."

The Lexus car missed the bend, smashed through a wooden fence, through a wall, did a 360 degree turn smashing the conservatory and ended up in the back garden

Driver Ion Frunze, 28, of Cannock Road in Corby, was given a community order with a 200 hours of unpaid work, banned from driving for 16 months and told to pay compensation of £600 after smashing into Mrs Keightley's cottage.

The car wedged in the house
Planned improvements by Rutland County Council