TWO PRIVATE hire taxis crashed in the same Wigan accident blackspot in a 10-minute spell.
In the first incident, a Blackpool-based vehicle running a woman back to the borough after she missed her train in the seaside resort, ended up sliding on ice before mounting the kerb and crashing through a garden.
It was followed shortly afterwards by a Wigan-based Street Cars taxi which ploughed through exactly the same section of now flattened fence.
The second incident left the semi-detached house in Ribble Road, Platt Bridge, writing off the vehicle in the process.
Miraculously nobody was injured in the two incidents with both taxi drivers and their fares escaping with only mild shock.
But now Street Cars boss Geoff Cunliffe is demanding the council put crash barriers between highway and pavement to prevent sliding vehicles threatening pedestrians.
The question of repairs to the house - it is believed that one section of wall may have been moved in the impact - is now in the hands of the insurers. A large crack is visible in the outer wall from the point of impact.
Although the Blackpool cab was damaged, the fence took most of the speed out of the crash. But the Wigan private hire vehicle, a 2005 Fiat Doublo, has been written off.
House owner Shaun Knowles, who has subsequently been unavailable for comment but has only owned the house for a comparatively short time, was away when the crashes occurred.
Both accidents occurred on a sharp bend.
The taxi drivers allege that the road hadn’t been sufficiently gritted and that they had hit a patch of black ice.
Mr Cunliffe has been in the private hire business for the past 30 years and insists that the bend is known in the trade as dangerous in icy conditions.
He said: “It’s nothing short of a miracle that we are talking about repairing houses and taxis and not a fatality because I hate to think what would have been the result if pedestrians or children had been on the pavement at the time.
“Our driver and the lady from Blackpool both say that they hit a sheet of black ice and could do nothing about it. I understand that with this weather it is always going to be a challenge for the council to get round. In which case it makes the need for a crash barrier at this point even more pressing. It would certainly cost a lot less than the cost of replacing our car and the repairs to the house which look like they are going to be significant.”
Council traffic manager Kevin Hargreaves said: “We are aware of this situation, we have visited the site and have spoken to the boss of the taxi company concerned. The situation here is not different from the hundreds of untreated residential streets throughout the borough. We have no evidence from either the resident of the damaged property or from accident statistics provided by the police to suggest that this is a location where accidents frequently occur.
“Like many other locations around the borough this is not an appropriate location for crash barriers. We would urge all motorist to take extra care in icy conditions.”