To receive any petitions in accordance with Standing Order 68. Notice should be given in writing or by email to the Community Partnership and Committee Officer at least 14 days before the meeting. Alternatively, the petition can be submitted on-line through Surrey County Council’s e-petitions website as long as the minimum number of signatures (30) has been reached 14 days before the meeting.
1) Road safety at Eastbourne Road/Ray Lane junction, Blindley Heath, by Mrs Rachel Turk
One petition, containing 399 signatures, was received from Mrs Rachel Turk. The petition, response from the Local Committee, and the comments made by the signatories, were all tabled at the meeting.
Mrs Turk set out the reasons for her petition. She called for improvements to the junction of Ray Lane with the A22 at Blindley Heath, following a fatal accident there on 17 August 2016.
Mrs Turk expressed concerns that the junction was dangerous, and stated that there had been multiple accidents at the site, including one where two people suffered serious neck injuries. Mrs Turk said that the junction is poorly signed, one of the signs is dirty and therefore fails to show up clearly, and the phasing of the traffic lights needs reviewing. Mrs Turk suggested introducing yellow lines at the junction, as well as more signage to warn drivers of the junction and encourage them to drive safely. Mrs Turk read out a selection of comments made by people who had signed the petition, which corroborated her concerns.
Zena Curry, Area Highway Manager, acknowledged the concerns of local residents, as expressed in the petition, but stated that there were no records of an accident involving serious neck injury at this location. She advised that she was unable to comment on the circumstances of the accident until the legal process had concluded.
Chris Cannon, Road Safety and Traffic Management Officer with Surrey Police, stated that while there have been accidents recorded to the north, south and east of the junction, no accidents have been recorded at the lights themselves. Therefore Surrey Police currently have no concerns about the safety of the traffic lights at the junction. A speed survey was conducted to the north of the junction in 2013, which showed average speeds were within the limit.
Mrs Helena Windsor, divisional member for Godstone, reminded the committee that residents in Blindley Heath had requested a 30mph speed limit at the Local Committee meeting on 24 June 2016, and asked when the speed survey would be undertaken. She questioned the phasing of the lights and whether this had been changed since the incident, as people had been seen working on it. She concurred that the phasing of the lights felt unsafe, and highlighted that this was a concern echoed within many of the comments made through the petition.
The Area Highway Manager confirmed that the speed survey would be undertaken before, or closely after, October half term, so that there are typical traffic conditions. Highways Officers have visited the site, and this is probably what was observed by residents locally.
Mr Michael Sydney, divisional member for Lingfield, asked why Highways couldn’t provide the committee with timescales for when the investigation would be completed. He stated that it was clear from the comments on the petition what residents think of the junction, and wanted reassurance that the results of the investigation would be brought back to the Local Committee. The Road Safety and Traffic Management Officer confirmed that afile is being prepared for the Crown Prosecution Service, who will decide whether any one will be charged or not.
Mr Sydney expressed concern about the accuracy of the accident statistics, given that people do not always report accidents to the Police. The Road Safety and Traffic Management Officer advised that the statistics are compiled using a nationally agreed methodology, with data provided by hospitals and doctors, not just through the attendance of the Police.
Chairman Mr Nick Skellett proposed that the Local Committee add this junction to its list of improvement schemes for 2017-18. He stated that the Local Committee will act on the concerns of residents, and referred to a fatal accident on Titsey Hill, following which the committee had been able to implement new signage and a reduced speed limit. The Area Highway Manager agreed to add the junction to the forward programme, to see if it would be prioritised for future funding.
Mrs Sally Marks, divisional member for Caterham Valley, suggested Parish Councils were well placed to help, by reminding residents to report accidents, and by keeping a database of accident hotspots locally.