Public takes up the war on speeding motorists

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A dozen resident groups are now carrying out DIY high-tech traffic monitoring under a scheme to identify the borough’s danger roads.

It is a year since Wigan Council introduced Community Speed Watch which gives householders with concerns about the pace of vehicles on their streets and estates the chance to take readings and then present a case for calming measures.

A speed warning sign on Scot Lane

A speed warning sign on Scot Lane

These are still early days and no warning signs or other devices have been installed as of evidence presented.

But the local authority, which also trains up the locals to use the equipment, says data on a number of sites has now been submitted for analysis after locals carried out their own studies.

And residents in Ormskirk Road, Pemberton, might be among the next group to borrow the kit under the terms of the council’s Deal which encourages residents to perform certain functions in these days of local government cuts which council staff may have done in the past.

Householders have been concerned about speeding on this busy main road, particularly where it splits around the Carnegie Library.

There have been a number of crashes in recent years, including one in the early hours of last Friday morning when a black Ford Focus Zetec heading up the hill collided with three cars parked at the side of the road near the former Carnegie Library.

The Ford smashed first into a white Renault Clio belonging to 52-year-old office administrator Beverley Lancaster, in turn shunting it and ploughing into two Vauxhalls: an Astra and Zafira, belonging to other residents.

The Ford itself came to rest 100 yards further up the road and Beverley’s 26-year-old son Adam said the side of it was “ripped open like a sardine tin.”

He said: “It was a right mess. The police said that all the cars had been written off.

“They took the others away but my mum’s had to stay put for a good while because it was so badly damaged that it was undriveable.

“This is not the first time we have had crashes here either.

“There was another one a few months ago which took out a whole section of wall near the Carnegie. Something needs to be done to stop this.”

A 31-year-old man was arrested by police on suspicion of drink-driving and bailed until February 8 pending further inquiries.

There was another incident in June 2015 when a stolen Mercedes crashed into a bus shelter and shops nearby. And only earlier in January businesses were complaining of speeding vehicles and crashes further up Ormskirk Road near to the Esso garage.

A neighbour of Mr Lancaster, who did not wish to be identified, said: “This is the last straw. I know we can’t pre-judge how the motorist in this latest crash was driving but there have been too many accidents on this stretch and vehicles need to be slowed down.

“Vehicles come up the relatively straight, wide section of Ormskirk Road from Newtown and then where the road forks they suddenly find themselves faced with a bend and very often double-parked cars.

“They then have to thread their speeding vehicle through quite a tight gap and sometimes they lose control.”

Both said that there should traffic-calming measures implemented.

Wigan Council said that it had not been approached by Ormskirk Road residents about speeding issues but suggested that locals take up the chance of getting involved in Community Speed Watch.

And Mark Tilley, assistant director of infrastructure at the authority (above), said: “So far we have provided equipment and training to enable 12 Community Speed Watch schemes to be set up across the borough. We are currently analysing the speed data collected from each scheme to determine if the average vehicle speeds are at or over the police enforcement threshold.

“If the criteria are met then we will be in a position to erect temporary speed warning signs in the necessary areas.”