Concerns over pedestrian safety at busy junctions in Horncastle

The pedestrian crossings at the traffic lights of the crossroads at the Ship Inn, in Horncastle. EMN-191204-165245001The pedestrian crossings at the traffic lights of the crossroads at the Ship Inn, in Horncastle. EMN-191204-165245001
The pedestrian crossings at the traffic lights of the crossroads at the Ship Inn, in Horncastle. EMN-191204-165245001
Horncastle might be growing, but the town’s priority should be the safety of its pedestrians and motorists alike.

That’s the opinion of one Horncastle resident, who’s lived in the town all his life.

The resident, who did not want to be named, contacted the News with his concerns.

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He claimed ‘someone will get hurt’ if changes to the towns infrastructure are not implemented.

And, he thinks many other Horncastle residents will agree.

He said: “I’ve lived in Horncastle for over 60 years, and I’ve seen the changes myself.

“The town is growing - more and more houses are going up so it’s only going to get busier.

“But whatever happens, it’s got to be safe.”

The resident alerted the News to safety issues he perceived at the crossroads of the A158 and A153 and in North Street, too.

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He said: “The pedestrian crossings at the traffic lights of the crossroads at the Ship Inn are an accident waiting to happen.

“The crossings themselves need moving ten feet back away from the traffic lights, as there simply isn’t enough room for pedestrians to anticipate the direction the traffic’s going and the speed it’s travelling at.

“Imagine someone was crossing over from Boston Road into the centre of town and stops on the island in the middle of the road.

“If a lorry came right, there’s only about a foot spare between it and the pedestrian waiting.

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“If the driver performed an emergency brake on seeing the pedestrian, the lorry would jackknife.

“If the crossings were just a few metres further away from the junction, there’d be more room for a lorry to straighten up and get by.

“I’d go as far as to say there needs to be metal barriers surrounding the crossings.”

He added that the narrowing of North Street near the junction with the high street was an additional problem, as it isn’t clear which direction of traffic has priority.

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The resident said that none of these problems could be instantly resolved by a bypass - part of the Lincolnshire Coastal Highway project which is still in its very early stages with no funding yet allocated.

Instead, the town’s safety problems need addressing ‘now’.

He added: “I’ve spoken to the town council about this and the response is to wait for a bypass - but that’s years off being finished.

“We pay our council tax, but you never see councillors about the town. If they actually looked carefully at these problem areas, they’d understand that action is needed.

“New houses are going up all the time. But Horncastle town centre needs to be made safe before thinking of anything else.

“I’ve been ignored by the council on the subject.

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“But if you get the public’s opinion, I’m sure they’ll agree.”

The News reached out to Horncastle Town Council for comment - a spokesman said that it was not up to them to make decisions about changes to the town’s road layout.

“The Town Council raises any concerns that it receives from residents about the safety of the pedestrian crossing at the A153/A158 junction to Lincolnshire County Council as the local highways authority,” the spokesman said.

“We have met with the LCC Executive Councillor for Highways and Transport on a couple of occasions and made him aware of issues brought to the Town Council’s attention about this junction.

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“We also pass on any highways issues to the local County Councillor - Bill Aron who holds regular meetings with Highways.

“The Town Council is not the Highways Authority, so cannot make changes to the crossing.

“Any concerns about Highways issues are always passed to the Highways Authority who have qualified Officers to investigate matters.”

A spokesman for Highways at Lincolnshire County Council told the News: “We can reassure the resident that the crossing is safe for pedestrians to use.

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“It is signalled-controlled, so traffic is brought to a stop while the green man is showing, and there is good visibility at the crossing points.

“The junction is designed to national standards, and there is sufficient room for HGVs to negotiate it safely.

“It’s very unlikely that a HGV turning right from North Street would be travelling at the sort of speed that risked jack-knifing.

“We appreciate that the road here is narrow, but there is no available space to allow it to be widened.”

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