STOKE: Community Speed Watch
(L-R) Michelle Shaker Carl Edwards, James Smith Dave Evans - by LDR,
A new Community Speed Watch is being set up in Norton Green to address residents’ concerns after a young girl was knocked down and killed as she walked home with her dad earlier this year.
Sharlotte-Sky Naglis, 6, died when she was struck whilst walking on the pavement with her dad in Norton Green in June.
A pupil at St Anne’s Primary School in Brown Edge, she died instantly in the horrific incident which happened the evening before Father’s Day.
The formation of the speed watch group is one of a range of efforts by local councillors, who’ve also pledged money from the city council’s Local Transport Plan to pay for measures which will improve road safety in the area.
The group is to begin in Norton Green, with the option of brining in volunteers in neighbouring Brown Edge further down the line.
Michelle Shaker, Community Speed Watch Coordinator for Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership (part of Staffordshire Police) spoke with volunteers who attended a meeting last week arranged by Stoke-on-Trent city councillors Carl Edwards, Dave Evans and James Smith.
Locals called for a number of measures to be introduced along Ball Lane and Endon Road – including a Gatso speed camera and a pedestrian crossing.
They said there are regular instances of drivers speeding in the area, with local amenities such as playgrounds and bus stops made inaccessible as a result.
The authorities said they needed to build up data – which the new speed group will be able to provide – in order to come up with an action plan for tacking the issue.
Mobile speed cameras which were parked up in the area during four visits in July recorded 45 instances of drivers speeding.
Officers logged 36 drivers travelling between 35-39mph, seven travelling between 40-44mph, and two travelling between 45-49mph on the 30mph stretch of road.
Charlotte Kay, 43, a resident on Endon Road said: “I’ve lived here 20 years and traffic has got progressively busier and faster.
“Over the years we’ve seen a number of collisions and it’s become difficult to cross the road safely.”
She said the local residents association has been working with local councillors to come up with a solution.
“Getting money for the proposed scheme is the most progress we’ve seen in many years, and I think it’s important that residents of both Norton Green and Brown Edge come together to implement the Speed Watch scheme.”
Mrs Kay added that the effect would be twofold – firstly as a deterrent, as the volunteers wear hi-vis clothing and motorists slow down when they see them.
Secondly, the scheme will help build a case for traffic calming measures.
Marine Mountford, 61, also lives on Endon Road and said the volume of traffic makes it difficult for pedestrians to access local services safely.
She said: “If you have a child, and you walk, it’s impossible to cross. You have to run.
“The fact that there’s an old people’s home with a bus stop across the road, and a play area on the other side of the street – it’s impossible to cross safely.
“There’s also no pavement on parts, so you don’t feel safe standing there.”
Cllr Dave Evans said that money had been made available as part of the Local Transport Plan.
He said the funding would be used in the design of a scheme to reduce the traffic problems on Endon Road, whilst also considering the possible impact on surrounding routes.
The scheme will be designed in consultation with the local community, and help deal with the issues and perceptions relating to speeding in the area.
Cllr Evans said: “There are options around building out pavements, for example, and putting in priority lanes. There are options around the geometry of the road.
“For me, it’s about how you make it less attractive to use as a shortcut for people like HGVs on the volume of traffic issue.
“A lot of the houses are terraced, and are very close to the road.”
He added: “We have to meet Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership’s assessment criteria, to demonstrate if we want to put things on Endon Road in terms of traffic calming.
“That’s why the data is really important. The meeting tonight will help us collect some of that information, help to ensure that resident’s voices are heard on the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership.”
All three councillors have vowed to take part in the Community Speed Watch, and it’s expected training for the volunteers could begin in December.
Proposals for a traffic calming scheme will be consulted on in the new year.
Words: Richard Price, Local Democracy Reporter
Latest Birmingham News
CHANNEL’S DEADLIEST DAY: Priti Patel says there is ‘no quick fix’ to tackle crossings after deadliest day
Watch the channel on TV