Fight to protect kids from deadly road risk

TIME FOR ACTION -- Coun Ian Morrison near the Washdyke Lane recreation ground -- DISPIC NHUD12-1978-1
TIME FOR ACTION -- Coun Ian Morrison near the Washdyke Lane recreation ground -- DISPIC NHUD12-1978-1

A DEADLY risk faced by children at a popular play area in Hucknall has sparked a fight that is determined to win improvements to road-safety at the blackspot.

It is claimed that youngsters could be killed because of problems on Washdyke Lane in the town.

A recreation ground, which has been revamped to the tune of more than £100,000 in recent years, runs parallel with the street, which is congested with parked vehicles.

Last month, little Lara Arnold (six) was lucky to survive after suffering a broken leg in a collision with a car on Washdyke Lane.

In a dramatic episode, the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance had to land on the recreation ground.

Six years ago, 17-year-old Daniel Banks was killed at almost exactly the same spot when he too was in collision with a car.

Ironically, the Washdyke play area is now dedicated in his memory and many of the improvement projects were driven by his friends in his honour.

Now Coun Ian Morrison (Lab), a Hucknall member of Ashfield District Council, with backing from the Dispatch, is fighting the corner of residents who are demanding action to tackle the dangers.

Coun Morrison has had a meeting at the site with Coun Mick Murphy (Con), a Hucknall member of Notts County Council and its lead member for community safety, and the town’s police chief, Insp Nick Butler.

“A child could be killed,” said Coun Morrison. “Action needs to be taken now before it is too late.”

Coun Morrison said there was a strong case for urgent measures because the school summer holidays are in full swing and the park was ‘packed solid’ with children when he paid a visit this week.

“While I was there, I saw two kids shoot across the road on scooters, coming from behind a parked van,” he said. “That proves the point that we need to move fast.”

“At the site meeting, we agreed to ask the county council highways department to look at the accident spot. One suggestion is to explore the possibility of double-yellow lines at the junction with Belvoir Street and along the park side of the road opposite the Pears shop.”

Another suggestion is for better signs, such as ‘Children At Play — Please Slow Down’.

Another proposal is early intervention, with police going into schools to run road-awareness seminars.

Newsagents will be contacted to seek their co-operation in getting paper boys and girls on bikes to wear high-visibility clothes and safety helmets and have lights on their cycles.

Ashfield Council is being asked to get involved by running a road-safety competition.

There is also a petition that has been launched by residents calling for improved safety.

Coun Murphy is putting aside political rivalries and backing Coun Morrison. He says he supports any action that would make Washdyke Lane safer.

He thought the requested improvements would tie in with the new pelican crossing on Annesley Road, which was providing safer access for many children to the play area.

But he stressed that parents had a key role to play in making sure their children were safe around parks and roads.

Insp Butler shares this view. He said the long-standing ‘stop, look and listen’ message to youngsters crossing the road was still as important as it had always been.

Thankfully Lara, of Abbots Road, Hucknall, is making a full recovery after treatment at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and an operation to insert pins into her broken leg.