FENLAND: Father of girl who drowned meets with MP to discuss road safety
By JOHN ELWORTHY THE father of the nine year-old girl who drowned near Bedlam Bridge in February had an emotional meeting with MP Malcolm Moss to boost a safety campaign for Fenland roads. Andrew Walker joined his friend, Graham Chappell, who has launche
By JOHN ELWORTHY
THE father of the nine year-old girl who drowned near Bedlam Bridge in February had an emotional meeting with MP Malcolm Moss to boost a safety campaign for Fenland roads.
Andrew Walker joined his friend, Graham Chappell, who has launched 'The Charlotte's Way Fenland Road Safety Campaign', named after Charlotte Walker who died when a car being driven by her mother ploughed into the river near March.
"Training and leaflets are good things," Mr Walker told the MP. "However the only thing that will really help to stop cars going into the water are safety barriers."
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Mr Moss, who sat listening to Mr Walker accompanied by Stephen Barclay, the prospective Parliamentary candidate for Mr Moss' NE Cambs constituency, promised to do everything he could to support the campaign.
He told Mr Walker and Mr Chappell that he would be writing to the county council asking a series of questions about proposed safety measures, and inquiring about past efforts to make the roads safer. He promised a "multi pronged" approach to supporting more cash for safety measures.
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Mr Chappell raised the issue of costs, saying that a proposed £149 million waterways scheme to link three cathedral cities- Lincoln, Peterborough and Ely- "was hardly going to save many lives." Barriers along Fenland drains would save lives, he told the MP.
"This whole area is under funded- the solution must be to reinforce the entire lengths of some of these roads," he said.
Mr Chappell said the Charlotte's Way campaign would be setting out to raise money to "kick start" the cost of barriers but he had no idea of the eventual costs.
"It's not my job to work it out," he said. "There are options and different ways of addressing the problems. What we don't want is more are bloody excuses and a scandalous shifting of blame."
He predicted that the campaign would "energise local people in the right direction- I expect the campaign to raise a considerable sum.2
Mr Chappell said there were many things that could be done much quicker, including better warning signs on the Sixteen Foot and Forty Foot. At the moment "warning signs are pathetic," he said.
Charlotte, of March Road, Tipps End, Welney, died following the accident which happened at the B1098 Bedlam Bridge, Sixteen Foot Bank, at Stonea, near March.
Police and fire-fighters had entered the freezing water in a desperate attempt to pull the youngster from the vehicle.
Paramedics battled at the roadside to resuscitate her, but she died later in hospital.
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