No improvements for accident black spot

A NOTORIOUSLY dangerous road which was the scene of an accident that saw a Whitby woman airlifted to hospital with serious injuries, will not be made safer for pedestrians.

Despite a decade of campaigning by residents and the accident that occurred on 27 January, North Yorkshire County Council has said it will not be improving The Carrs in the near future.

The road, which connects Briggswath and Ruswarp, is on the county council’s highways improvements list but scores so low that other projects take priority.

NYCC’s corporate director David Bowe said: “There are many locations in the area that would benefit from alterations to improve road safety.

“Schemes are prioritised based on a number of factors, including the overall history of personal injury in the location over the past three years, the severity of the accident and inevitably the necessary costs involved in making any improvements.

“While there has been this recent accident on The Carrs, there are currently locations across the area that suffer from worse accident histories and therefore score higher against the criteria.

“It is therefore unlikely the county council will be in a position to pursue improvements on The Carrs in the near future.”

The council estimates it would cost around £200,000 to allow the installation of a footpath that would prevent accidents such as the one in January which left Whitby woman Cheryl Jones fighting for her life.

She has now returned home to recover, but town councillor Niall Carson, who represents the Ruswarp ward, said it is sad that a serious accident must occur before safety improvements are made.

He added: “If it had been a fatal accident it probably would have gone to the top of the list.

“Thank goodness it wasn’t and I gather everyone is recovering as well as can be expected. It needs a footpath, and if there’s going to be a footpath it might as well be a cycle track.”

Whitby MP Robert Goodwill said: “I’m disappointed the county council haven’t sought fit to prioritise these safety improvements and while I understand the difficult financial times we live in, the fact that we have had such a nasty accident, which was nearly a tragic accident, should make them think again.

“I’m confident that our Whitby councillors will not let it rest at that.”

Eskdale-cum-Ugglebarnby parish councillor David Tate said he has met with the county council, which acknowledged The Carrs is a danger to road users and pedestrians.

However, he was told the road scores so low on the list that even with the extra points it will be given following publication of the police’s accident report, it will still not rise high enough on the list for any work to take place.

Cheaper alternatives, such as better signage have been suggested, but Coun Carson said these may just get ignored.

“There’s a lot of signage up there already, but it’s up to drivers to obey it.

“Most drivers think they have a God-given right to drive at 70mph, regardless of the road conditions,” he said.

Mr Bowe added that the removal of hedgerow on the bend where the accident occurred may also not be enough to prevent such accidents.

He said: “The hedgerow is on private land and the decision to remove the hedge must be made by the landowner.

“I can inform you this option has been investigated in the past, and was left for the parish council to take forward with the owner.

“While NYCC have no objections to this work being undertaken, it must be considered that improving visibility in the location may have the undesirable effect of increasing driver speed and the result may not have the required positive impact on the location’s overall speed.”