FENLAND: Road safety fight is set to go to the Government after campaigner meets Malcolm Moss

EXCLUSIVE by: MAGGIE GIBSON FENLAND road safety campaigner Graham Chappell is ready to take his case to the Government. Mr Chappell is fighting for barriers to be installed on the major Fenland roads which run alongside waterways. He is keen to put his c

EXCLUSIVE by: MAGGIE GIBSON

FENLAND road safety campaigner Graham Chappell is ready to take his case to the Government.

Mr Chappell is fighting for barriers to be installed on the major Fenland roads which run alongside waterways.

He is keen to put his case to the Government and has asked North East Cambs MP, Malcolm Moss for help in making sure his campaign documents reach the Transport Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister.


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This week the Rev Kevin Fitzgibbon, parish priest for Christchurch, Manea and Welney added his support.

He said "I have been a vicar in Fenland for more than 15 years and on two sad occasions had to sit with parents whose children have died on Fenland roads. I have taken their funerals and know that these parents never get over their loss, even if after many years they return to some kind of normal life.

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I have also known adult lives lost to tragic accident on these deceptively dangerous roads."

Rev Fitzgibbon believes a "step by step planned approach is long overdue" and he says "the Fenland Road Safety Campaign's proposals are a sensible basis for prioritised action to reduce road deaths and injuries on dangerous stretches of road".

At a meeting with Mr Chappell on Friday, Mr Moss said: "I don't think there is another local authority in the country which has this problem to deal with. The county council must take the lead on this and make a case for funding to the Government."

Mr Chappell founded the 'Fenland Road Safety Campaign (Charlotte's Way)' after the latest tragic death due to a vehicle leaving the road and going into the adjacent river on the Sixteen Foot Bank near Christchurch in February this year. Another waterway related fatality occurred on the North Bank Road near Whittlesey shortly afterwards.

Mr Chappell said: "Over the last 20 years, there has been a combined average of around a death per year on the three major waterway adjacent roads in the area, the Sixteen Foot, Forty Foot, and North Bank roads, and two thirds of all fatalities on those roads have been due to vehicles going into the adjacent rivers."

Two major documents have been produced for the Campaign, 'Fenland Roads, A Local Tragedy, A National Disgrace' and 'Aims and Objectives'. The latter has been distributed to all parish, town and district councillors in Fenland plus key individuals in Cambs County Council and Peterborough City Council and the health and emergency services, but he is also calling for members of the public to add their support.

"The public can also help by expressing their views -now is the time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards and for people to let their MP, or this newspaper know what they think," he said.

Copies of the 'Aims and Objectives' document have been made available free of charge at various locations around Fenland, including the Cambs Times Office.

Mr Chappell, who lives in Christchurch, believes that council representatives have, in the past, unhelpfully confused the issue with irrational arguments about supposed technical impossibility or other difficulties associated with installing barriers.

He said: "It is very clear that the real issues are funding and political will".

He wants the county council and Peterborough City Council to acknowledge the principle that safety barriers along the most dangerous and exposed sections would save lives.

He is also calling for installation of average speed cameras on not just the Forty Foot Bank but the other two major waterway adjacent roads as well, and for both councils to pursue all options for funding new safety infrastructure on these roads.

n What do you think? Is Mr Chappell right to call for barriers to save lives? Is there the political will to provide the funding necessary? Do you have first hand experiences of Fenland accidents- particularly if you think they could have been avoided with better safety precautions?

Email: editor@cambs-times.co.uk.

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