Wiltshire Publications

Resident claims junction crossing is “unfit for purpose”

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A LOCAL man is calling for urgent action following an accident at a pedestrian crossing point at the junction of Warminster Road and Westbury Leigh last week.

A man was driving his mobility scooter when it overturned at the junction, causing head injuries. Dan Gmaj who lives on Leigh Road, says that he has been warning of the danger of this junction crossing,  calling it “unfit for purpose’ and says now his worst fears have been realised. 

He said, “I am very sorry to report that an incident has occurred ‘as projected sadly’ on this junction today, 13th July. Thanks should be made to the community members stopping to help and the assistance of traffic police who attended the scene. 

“I have talked casually with many locals since February 2020, who are active pedestrians and pavement users where I live. It is a common belief that the ‘pavement crossing’ works have not aided safety and indeed that the feeling of ‘false security’ given by these works actually adds to the threat of injury. Very few locals use these ramps to cross as they know better!

“The prefered option remains to walk round into Leigh Road and cross where traffic visibility is better, or by the Matravers side gates in Leigh Road.”

He says that having lived on the corner of Leigh Road for over 20 years, he was surprised when the dropped curb pedestrian crossing paving was installed, suggesting this was a safe place to cross. 

Dan Gmaj says that he raised his concerns about the safety of the crossing area when the new kerb work was installed earlier this year. At the time, he wrote to the town council’s highways, planning & development committee to say the new work at the junction of Warminster Road and Leigh Road “constitutes a potential risk of death or serious injury to road users and pedestrians.

“I contact you in your roles as members of HP&D but urge each of you to visit the junction in question at your earliest convenience to see for yourselves and imagine the risks from the point of view of pedestrians /wheelchair users/push chair using mums and dads /mobility scooter users etc.”

He says that Wiltshire councillor, Gordon King, wrote to him in February saying,”I am told that this is a Highways Development Control project and as such your email has been forwarded to them for consideration and response. If after receiving that response please do not hesitate in coming back to me should there be anything other arising.” But Dan Gmaj says that he did not receive  any further information from Wiltshire Council. 

Dan Gmaj contacted Westbury town councillors following the accident, who have expressed their concern. He has been sent a highway improvement form and has been asked for his input as to what the problem is with the junction crossing place.

Wiltshire and Westbury town councillor, Gordon King wrote, “It would appear to me that the problem might be in three parts. First the width of the junction, second the raised kerb and third the angle of the pavement as it round the corner into Leigh Road. I guess that the combination of all three contributed to this accident.”

At Monday night’s Westbury Town Council highways, planning & development meeting, councillors agreed to ask Wiltshire Council traffic officers to look again at the junction to see if anything can be done and suggested warning signs to the public. 

Photo: Dan Gmaj

One Response to Resident claims junction crossing is “unfit for purpose”

  1. Russell Hawker

    July 25, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    Part of the problem is that some folk are using electric scooters that are not designed for use outside on pavements that may not be perfectly flat.

    Some scooters in use outside are supposed to be only used indoors on flat surfaces and these tend to be far too narrow with small wheels so that they tip over easily with the slightest gradient especially if the rider is far too big for the scooter in the first place or they turn the wrong way just as the scooter tips sideways a bit.

    There is a lot of relevant detail missing from this story.