Wheelchair user in call for safer crossing at busy Wigan junction

Stephen Unsworth, 43, wants to see the crossing near the Bird i’th Hand pub in Hindley

Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:55 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:56 pm

A wheelchair user has slated Wigan Council for a lack of action to make safety improvements at a busy junction.

Stephen Unsworth, 43, accuses the authority of “disregarding” his calls for a safer crossing near the Bird i’th Hand pub in Hindley.

Residents feel the town centre crossroads is unsafe due to the lack of pedestrian lights and want to see a pelican crossing installed.

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Stephen Unsworth with his mum Christine

Mr Unsworth, of Holt Street who has tetraplegia caused by spinal injuries he sustained in a road accident, said: “I feel that the council are not paying any

attention.

“They’ve told me they’re awaiting funding to improve the junction but have been saying this for the last few years.”

The dad of one has become so fed up that he has taken matters into his own hands and plans to put up placards on the railings. They will call for a safer crossing and follow a petition set up by Mr Unsworth which has garnered more than 200 signatures.

He said: “In a wheelchair I’m being elevated 6ins off the pavement and it makes it very difficult to cross.

“I don’t use the crossing as it’s not worth the risk.

“I have had a number of near misses.

“Able-bodied and younger people also have problems. I was talking to a 23-year-old man who said he struggled to cross and mums in prams.”

There have been attempts to improve traffic flow at the notorious bottleneck for several years.

Residents have reported numerous problems in the middle of Hindley where Wigan Road, Liverpool Road, Atherton Road and Market Street intersect.

Plans for a bypass to reduce congestion have also been touted but never

materialised. Mr Unsworth, who has raised around £20,000 for spinal injury charities through various events, added: “I’ve heard that where they want a bypass to be would be in a green space and there’s lots of opposition from environmentalists and I kind of agree with them.

“More houses could then be built and that means more cars.

“A crossing would be better but I’ve given up with the council as I feel like I’m going round in circles.

“They just keep disregarding me and I don’t think they have plans to do anything.”

But Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure at the town hall said: “While this remains a priority for the council, changes to the junction are a long-term ambition while we search, bid and secure funding to carry out any works effectively.

“We’re liaising with our colleagues at Transport for Greater Manchester to look at the options available to us and to see what funding might be available.”

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