Why pedestrians have to take "leap of faith" when using this Chorley zebra crossing

Residents of a village in Chorley are warning that the “crazy” positioning of a zebra crossing just yards from a mini roundabout is putting lives at risk.

By Paul Faulkner
Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 4:14 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 10:02 pm

Almost 600 people have signed a petition demanding changes to the junction of Spendmore Lane, New Road and Clancutt Lane in Coppull.

They want to see either traffic lights installed or the four-way intersection redesigned to incorporate a full-size roundabout to ensure drivers slow down when they approach it.

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The zebra crossing on Spendmore Lane is just feet away from the mini roundabout at the junction of New Road and Clancutt Lane (Image: Michelle Adamson)

Chorley South county councillor Julia Berry says that the current feature is barely breaking the speed of some drivers - in spite of a recent paint job to make it more obvious to motorists.

“Often, they are not even negotiating it - and with the zebra crossing being so close to the junction, people are having to make a real leap of faith to get across the road.

“I’m really concerned about the speed at which vehicles are approaching it - especially those passing through Coppull who may not know the area.

“It’s about driver education to a degree, but anybody with common sense would say that there shouldn't be a crossing so close to a roundabout that everybody just drives across.

Ernie Hothersall has helped gather almost 600 signatures calling for a safety upgrade at the roundabout (image: Michelle Adamson)

“I’m pressing for proper action to mitigate the problem, because Lancashire County Council has a duty to consider pedestrians as well as drivers,” said County Cllr Berry, adding that older residents in the area were particularly vulnerable when trying to get from one side of the road to the other.

Ernie Hothersall, one of those behind the petition to highways bosses, says that it is time for a rethink of the road layout.

“The crossing is not a car’s length from the roundabout - it’s absolutely crazy,” Mr. Hothersall fumed.

“When a vehicle does stop to let pedestrians cross, it blocks the roundabout anyway. If you're coming out of Chorley, there is no sign warning of a zebra crossing - and you don't see the belisha beacons until you’re right on top of the roundabout.

Is the zebra crossing visible enough to drivers leaving the roundabout? (image: Michelle Adamson)

“You also get people going towards Coppull from Chorley who indicate as if they’re going off down Clancutt Lane, but then go straight ahead - it makes pedestrians think they are safe to cross.”

Responding to news of the petition that the authority is about to receive, a spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: "Further to concerns raised by County Cllr Berry and the local community, we've refreshed the markings on Clancutt Lane roundabout in Coppull to improve its visibility to motorists.

"We're also installing temporary speed concern signs on the New Road approach to the roundabout to ensure motorists keep to the speed limit.

"We work closely with the police to address speeding and we'd encourage anyone who sees dangerous driving to report the vehicle number plate to Lancashire Police by phoning 101 or reporting the issue online via their website."

[From left]: Residents Austin Mortimer and Ernie and Lydia Hothersall, with County Cllr Julia Berry (image: Michelle Adamson)

Records from the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership show that all of the approaches to the junction - which is overlooked by a convenience store - were the subject of speed concern submissions in April.

Spendmore Lane and Clancutt Lane had already been assessed within the past three years - when a speed indicator device was installed on the former and residents were referred to resources to enable them to raise awareness of speeding in relation to the latter - making the roads ineligible for reconsideration.

The temporary signage to be introduced on New Road will also see concerns about the route passed to the police-led community roadwatch scheme.

Conservative County Cllr Charlie Edwards, the recently-appointed cabinet member for highways added: "Since taking on this role I have worked hard to reach out to councillors and ask for them to bring their concerns to me. So I am naturally a bit shocked that this particular councillor went to the press first rather than reaching out to me.

"I have investigated the history behind this particular crossing and it was installed in 2016 when Labour controlled the council and made all sorts of crazy decisions, just like this one.

"I'm afraid County Cllr Berry has highlighted a classic example of Labour failure and is precisely the reason why our highways are improving, slowly but surely, unpicking one crazy decision at a time," County Cllr Edwards said.