‘Accident waiting to happen’ here!

Mr Frank Galpin and Coun. John Hill on Whalley Road in Simonstone which they have serious safety concerns over.'Photo Ben Parsons
Mr Frank Galpin and Coun. John Hill on Whalley Road in Simonstone which they have serious safety concerns over.'Photo Ben Parsons
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A RETIRED fire-fighter is accusing Lancashire County Council of double standards in the way it deals with road safety.

Mr Frank Galpin dreads the day that he fears is inevitable – when he relives the scene of a fatal crash on a busy main road – and, he says it only a matter of time before it happens in Whalley Road, Simonstone, as the highways authority will not put up safety barriers at a dangerous junction.

He and his neighbours have campaigned for years to get improvements at the junction of Fountains Avenue and Whalley Road to cope with problems created by having a combination of a bus stop, car lot, shop, garage and pub within yards of each other.

So he was incredulous when he received a leaflet on speed limits saying that the county council is “working to create safer communities”.

He said: “The leaflet says the county council needs our help in preparing to make the streets safer. People in County Hall need reminding they are not the only ones with foresight, or, for that matter, experience.”

A county council survey confirmed that more than 13,000 vehicles use Whalley Road in Read and Simonstone every day. Mr Galpin first voiced his fears a few years ago. He said: “At the time the dangers were becoming apparent I witnessed a car mount the pavement and pull up short of children waiting at the bus stop. I suggested erecting a metal barrier to protect anyone at the bus stop but the idea was dismissed, as was our request for a pelican crossing, or, at the very least, a box junction.”

His anxieties were rekindled recently after he saw the remnants of a similar incident in which a metal road sign was flattened. “The remains of the sign are still there. It is about 2m from the bus stop,” he said. “It is an easily predictable outcome, given the layout, the tremendous use of the road, the junction and the 1,001 facilities offered by the garage complex – all factors dismissed by the county council.

“I was a fire officer when I was working. I attended an incident where a van driver died at the wheel. The van mounted the pavement and killed people. They are looking at this as a risk assessment. I have been told they probably will not do anything until somebody is killed. We were pretty good at risk assessment in the fire service, and I assess this as a serious accident waiting to happen.”

Brian Eagle, Lancashire County Council public realm manager for the Ribble Valley, said: “We have received a letter from Mr Galpin about his concerns about road safety at this junction.

“The incident in which the sign was knocked over involved a single vehicle in the early hours and the junction does not appear to have been a factor. We regularly meet with the police to look at any changes that could reasonably be made to improve road safety and will discuss this issue at our next meeting.”