A HEATED public meeting to discuss safety measures at a ‘death trap’ crossroads junction concluded residents desperately want bigger changes than what the council’s highways bosses have promised.
The meeting at Crow Edge Community Centre on Wednesday saw local councillors and more than 50 residents gather to discuss the dangers of Whams Road, Hazlehead, where another accident causing life-changing injuries occurred just a couple of weeks ago.
Just an hour before the meeting, the three local Lib Dem councillors in attendance received plans from the Barnsley Council outlining their response to recent calls for improvement to the infamous crossroads.
The plans include promises to improve visibility of the crossroads by increasing signage and altering the road surface and markings to warn drivers of the upcoming junction.
Penistone town councillor David Wood and Dunford Bridge town councillor Allen Pestell chaired the meeting with Couns David Greenhough, Hannah Kitching and Mandy Lowe-Flello leading the discussions.
Barnsley Council’s highways department declined to send a representative to the meeting.
A unanimous vote called for a reduction in the speed limit, as well as calls for further measures such as a roundabout, traffic lights, speed cameras or a chicane.
Councillors agreed to investigate the cause of accidents at the site further, and plan to conduct a survey for local residents to express what improvements they would like to see at the junction.
Coun Kitching said: “The good news - I think - is that Barnsley Council’s highways department are finally going to take action at this junction.
“They have said they are preparing measures which are aimed at making the junction more visible and conspicuous.
“Unfortunately, it would take a lot more campaigning to get further measures in place and if these measures don’t do the job - you might even be waiting for another accident to make your case for things like roundabouts or speed cameras.
“Any action taken is ultimately up by the highways team but South Yorkshire Police told me they would support any reduction in the speed limit.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve got anything regarding this junction at all - because highways officers do fob us off.
“They say there needs to be an X amount of accidents and fatalities for action to be taken - then after an accident occurs they will say there aren’t enough.
“I do realise that these improvement measures from the council have been dictated rather than collaborated on - and we will continue to represent voices regarding these issues.”
Coun David Greenhough added: “We’ve spoken to police regarding the speed concerns - who have said they would support any reduction in speed limit on the road.
“People who live here aren’t the problem - it’s the people passing through who don’t know the road.
“At the moment it feels like a free road - drivers put their foot down and there’s no sign of what danger lies ahead.
“At least these new measures will make it feel like they’re entering somewhere with a significant junction.
“It’s often said by the council that speed cameras are not financially viable, but it’s not financially viable to pick up the cost of every single accident.
“Running speed cameras is a fraction of that cost - so saying they can’t be implemented because of cost issues doesn’t add up.”