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Long wait ahead for A15 safety measures

Lawrance Park Community Hall, Thurlby, is packed to capacity for a public meeting calling for pedestrian crossings to be installed on the A15 at Thurlby and Northorpe.

Lawrance Park Community Hall, Thurlby, is packed to capacity for a public meeting calling for pedestrian crossings to be installed on the A15 at Thurlby and Northorpe.

Campaigners fighting for new safety measures on the A15 near Bourne have been warned it could be a year before improvements are made to the road.

The warning came at a public meeting in Thurlby, the village where two eleven-year-old girls were critically injured after being in collision with a minibus on their way home from school five weeks ago.

More than 150 people packed into Thurlby’s Lawrance Park Community Hall on Friday for the meeting, which called for crossings to be installed in Thurlby and nearby Northorpe to help pedestrians cross the A15.

The meeting was organised by Thurlby mum Clare White, whose petition for new crossings on the A15 has attracted almost 6,500 signatures.

One of the girls injured in the crash on January 7 was at the meeting where Brian Thompson, head of highways for Lincolnshire County Council, pledged to carry out a 12-hour road survey in Thurlby and Northorpe in the next few weeks to decide whether crossings were needed.

But he warned that because of the “significant statutory notices” required before work could start on any crossings, it could be a year before they were in place, if approved by the county council.

Meanwhile, police have confirmed that the driver involved in the accident on January 7 is being treated as a witness and not a suspect in their investigation.

The case for better safety measures on the A15 in Thurlby and Northorpe was put to influential figures at a public meeting in Thurlby on Friday.

At least 150 people attended the meeting at Laurence Park Community Hall, including Nick Boles MP, whose Grantham and Stamford constituency includes both villages, county councillor Helen Powell and South Kesteven District Council member John Nicholson.

The meeting was organised by Clare White (33), a mother-of-two from Thurlby whose petition for pedestrian crossing to be installed on the A15 in Thurlby and Northorpe has been signed by almost 6.500 people.

Other guests at the meeting included Thurlby Parish Council chairman Barry Dobson and Coun Richard Davies, Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transport, along with Brian Thompson, head of the county council’s highways department.

Mr Thompson promised that a survey of people and traffic using the A15 in Thurlby and Northorpe would be done in the next few weeks to decide whether pedestrian crossing should be installed.

But he added that it could take at least a year to get them in place because of the public notices required for such work.

Afterwards Clare said: “The turnout was a lot better than I expected, considering it was wet, cold, windy and Valentine’s Day.

“I was really pleased to see the hall full and I do feel that we were listened to by the county council whose represetatives said that they would do what they could to give us pedestrian crossings on the A15 in Thurlby and Northorpe.

“We’ll continue with the petition while waiting for a survey to be done on the A15 in the next few weeks and as soon as we get the results of that, we’ll then decide what to do next.”

The meeting was given greater significance as one of the two 11-year-old girls injured when a minibus hit them on the A15 in Thurlby five weeks ago was in the audience with her family.

Laurence Reilly, headteacher of Bourne Academy where both girls are students, and Graham Clegg, headteacher of Thurlby Primary School which both girls left in July 2013, were also at the meeting.

Coun Powell said: “The girl was so chuffed to be there in a wheelchair and she told me that she has only just started to put weight on her left leg.

“It really brought home to the highways officer and Coun Davies what the picture has been in Northorpe and Thurlby regarding the A15.

“Hopefully, the meeting will bring the right outcome but we have to wait and see what the survey says.”

Coun Dobson said: “We had a tremendous response from people in Thurlby to the meeting and I think the county council has turned 180 degrees on the subject of getting these pedestrian crossings on the A15 in the village and Northorpe.”

Meanwhile, the man leading the investigation into the crash on January 7 revealed that the driver of the minibus wasn’t speeding.

Insp Simon Heads of the Lincolnshire Roads Policing Unit said: “After obtaining witness statements, conducting a reconstruction and studying CCTV evidence, I have been able to build up a picture of the events.

“Forensic collision investigators have used various techniques to estimate the speed of the minibus that struck the girls and I do not believe that the driver was exceeding the speed limit.

“As a result of all this, the driver is being treated as a witness and not a suspect in relation to this collision.”

 

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