Kettering's Newland Street rat run an 'accident waiting to happen'

There have been calls for cameras to be installed to monitor drivers using it
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A Kettering pensioner says a town centre rat run is an accident waiting to happen after he was almost hit by a car while crossing the road.

Derek Bradshaw wants cameras to be installed in Newland Street – a pedestrian and cycle zone – to monitor drivers who are illegally using it as a shortcut.

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The 89-year-old said his judo reflexes and years of gym training may have saved his life after jumping out of the way of an Audi at about 4.50pm on Saturday (October 7).

Derek Bradshaw was almost hit by a car while crossing the road in Newland StreetDerek Bradshaw was almost hit by a car while crossing the road in Newland Street
Derek Bradshaw was almost hit by a car while crossing the road in Newland Street

He was crossing at the island near Montagu Street, towards the Sense charity shop, when a driver who was blindsided by another vehicle turned into the rat run.

Mr Bradshaw, who still goes to the gym five times a week, said: "I jumped back and by the time he stopped I was level with his rear door. If I didn’t jump I could have been under his car.

"I was shocked. My sharp awareness and reflexes probably saved my life.”

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Mr Bradshaw said the driver looked back before driving off without apologising. He then witnessed four more cars using the street in convoy as a rat run.

Newland Street is a pedestrian and cycle zone and vehicles are banned except buses, taxis and loading lorries.

But many still use it as a shortcut to get to the junction with Eskdaill Street, Rockingham Road and Northall Street.

Mr Bradshaw, who served in the Army in Malaya between 1951 and 1953, said he believes there should be cameras to monitor drivers and deter them, with fines for those who flout the rules.

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He said: "I would like to see cameras that flash when a car goes through it when they shouldn’t.

"It’s a pedestrian area and it’s an accident waiting to happen.

"I’m hoping that my experience will raise awareness of it and the fact that it could have been fatal or left me incapacitated.”

Cllr Anne Lee, who represents the Windmill ward in Kettering, said she thinks it’s very important that cameras are put up.

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She said the cost of doing so cannot be seen as a reason not to – and pointed to Wellingborough’s bus gate camera scheme.

The Labour councillor said: "They do not need to cost a bomb – the cameras in Wellingborough have generated hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"The cost cannot be an excuse. They need to be installed as soon as possible if this authority is serious about the safety of our people.”

But a spokesman for North Northamptonshire Council said they do not currently have any plans to install enforcement cameras.

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The spokesman said: “Drivers are reminded of the restrictions in Newland Street and also that they should drive safely at all times.

“Currently there aren’t any plans to install enforcement cameras in Newland Street.

“Like any new measures, we would need to consider any proposals against available budgets and wider policies in the north Northants area.

“We would also have to consider whether any consultation was required.”

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