Yesterday I was pleased to welcome Graeme Hicks, Cornwall Council's Cabinet Member for Highways, to Launceston. Graeme had agreed to come to look at some of the issues surrounding crossing and the need for a safer way for people to walk down Dutson Road.
Whilst we were there, we met a number of local residents and also talked to the Cornish and Devon Post.
I took Graeme from the town centre to Ridgegrove, pointing out that for people to walk to route, they needed twice to cross a main road where there is no safe crossing. There is also a problem for all the people who live in the 135 homes on the Priory side of St Thomas' Road as they have to cross the road to get into the town, and for people wanting to get to the steam railway, to Priory ruins or for kids wanting to access Priory Park to play football.
Once we got to Dutson Road, it was clear that Graeme was shocked that children have to walk down a thunderous main road with no pavement to get to school. I asked him to urgently consider what can be done to make the road safer. Of course, the best idea would be to cut the traffic using the road, but this will be a major project. In the mean time, we considered introducing rumble strips at the top of the road and a 'speedvisor' speed indicator sign which will warn drivers to slow down.
Graeme has promised to work with officers to look at all of these issues. He will work out whether the needed changes can be done and also how much they will cost. In the past, officers have often indicated that changes are simply not possible. I hope that Graeme will have a 'can do' attitude and look to see how we can effectively reduce speed on Dutson Road and provide safe crossings on St Thomas and Western Road.
Graeme did, however, point out that there is little or no money in the budget for any changes. I told him that many millions of pounds have been found for projects in mid and West Cornwall in recent years but that North Cornwall has largely missed out on vital life-saving highways works. I appreciate that the Council has to save money, but it is surely only a small matter of time before there is a fatal accident in our area and we ought to spend the necessary money now to save lives.
Image courtesy of the Cornish and Devon Post