Calls for pedestrian crossing on Kettering road to avoid a serious accident

Hundreds cross the road to get to Weekley Hall Wood as cars go past
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A pedestrian crossing should be installed on a busy road to make access to a Kettering wood safer, campaigners have said.

Hundreds of people have been going to Weekley Hall Wood on the northern edge of Kettering, with many parking a lay-by on the A6183 and crossing the busy road as cars motor past at speeds of 60mph-plus.

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The Save Weekley Hall Wood team - who are fighting a developer's bid to chop down trees to build a warehouse park - now want highways bosses to act and install a pedestrian crossing to prevent a serious accident.

'Slow down' signs have been put up near the crossing.'Slow down' signs have been put up near the crossing.
'Slow down' signs have been put up near the crossing.

Northamptonshire County Council has already put up temporary signs urging people to slow down.

Save Weekley Hall Wood campaigner Douglas Mayer, who recently ran a half-marathon in the wood for charity, said: "The Save Weekley Hall Wood campaign team are very concerned by the amount of people, especially those with young families, crossing this very fast and busy road, especially given the speed of vehicles, poor visibility and lack of space to wait.

"Due to the popularity of the area, especially during lockdown, the public footpath from Brambleside and the two lay-bys are very busy and as there are often cars turning in the road, this causes additional hazards to pedestrians and other motorists. It’s a recipe for a serious incident.

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"The only other option is to walk a very long detour (a one mile round trip) to cross at Rockingham Road, which is out of the question for a lot of people, especially families with young children and the elderly and less able. During our pedestrian survey we were amazed at how many people, including young children, were accessing the public footpath at Weekley Wood Lane/A6183 location.

A car stops to let people cross the road.A car stops to let people cross the road.
A car stops to let people cross the road.

"Personally speaking, I cross this road regularly while out running and while walking with my young family. It is always a moment of anxiety for me."

In a pedestrian survey carried out over two days in May, 893 people accessed the site from the A6183 entrance. On one of those two days alone, 4,253 vehicle movements were recorded on the road.

Save Weekley Hall Wood campaigner and Brambleside resident Steve Esler said: "We as a family love going over to Weekley Hall Woods and the surrounding meadows for bike rides and long walks. During lockdown this has been a welcome facility on our doorstep.

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"However, we do have to be very careful when crossing the road to access, especially since lockdown measures have been lifted. We have seen a big increase in traffic, lots of overtaking and speeding. We would like that stretch of road to be slowed down and a pedestrian crossing added.

A walker crosses the road towards the lay-by.A walker crosses the road towards the lay-by.
A walker crosses the road towards the lay-by.

"At the very least, speeds should be reduced and signs warning of pedestrians to motorists should be added."

And Dan Whitney, a photographer who lives in Brambleside and takes pictures in the wood, said: "I'm a resident of Brambleside and use Weekley Hall Wood every day. I have to cross the A6183 to get to the entrance to Weekley Hall Wood which of course can be very busy with cars going 60mph-plus and when I have my four-year-old and my dog with me this can be quite dangerous.

"I think a crossing would be very necessary and could potentially stop an accident."

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Cllr Ash Davies from Kettering's Brambleside ward said: "Northants Highways have been made aware of local concerns about this crossing point after a number of residents contacted myself and colleagues about this matter.

"The safety camera team has also been made aware to hopefully reduce speeding at this location."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “We are looking at possible options and are in contact with Cllr Davies on this issue. This month we will be installing temporary signs to raise awareness of pedestrians crossing, with a view to a longer-term project to install more permanent scheme if funding allows.

“We have also advised about the Northamptonshire Road Safety Community Fund, supported by the Safer Roads Alliance, which gives grants of between £500 and £5,000 to communities for initiatives that support the Northamptonshire Strategic Road Safety Plan: speed reduction, anti-social road use, distraction driving, drink or drug driving, road victims and their families, use of seatbelts, child restraints and seats and educational initiatives leading to positive behaviour.”

The suggestion can be 'up-voted' on the Safer Streets Northamptonshire website here.