We take our lives in our hands at estate's exit at exit to estate
by Keri Beckingham
A RESIDENT has told Keynsham Voice that he is concerned that people are taking their lives in their hands every time they leave the Park Homes Rockhill Estate on the Wellsway.
Concerns over the safety of the Wellsway have been previously reported, following a spate of vehicles mounting pavements and near-misses.
Resident Gemma Mitchell and her neighbours first spoke to Keynsham Voice in August 2017, and again in February this year, following a series of incidents outside their homes near the junction with Bath Hill.
These included speeding cars, being clipped by wing mirrors, one driver crashing into a garden wall and another hitting a telegraph pole as they lost control on the corner.
Now, Andy Cockle – a retired police officer who lives on the Rockhill estate with his wife – has told the Voice that he is concerned that a lack of awareness of the speed limit on the Wellsway and poor visibility when leaving the estate is an accident waiting to happen.
He said: “As soon as we moved here 18 months ago, I had concerns about coming out of the estate, and so I spoke to the owner of the property and mirrors were put up as a result.
“However, these were then broken due to vandalism, and because of the design of the road you have to put your nose out just to see what’s coming.
“Every time someone pulls out they literally have to take their life in their hands, and I’m not exaggerating.
“The actual speed limit of the road is 20mph, and the fundamental issue is that no one abides by 20mph.
“Nowadays a lot of people follow their sat navs and I have asked several people who all say that their sat navs show that the speed limit of the road is 30mph, which is incorrect.
“I always have people flashing me and tailgating when I’m doing 20mph, because they are simply following what their sat nav says and not actually looking at the signs.
“About three months ago I was asked to form a residents association for the Rockhill Estate, and following a meeting I was approached by four or five people who said they are physically scared to leave the entrance of the site by car or foot, because of the speed that people come along.
“When you come around the bend by the cricket club, you do not see the entrance to the Rockhill estate, and this is made worse by the fact that most people are speeding.
“I’ve seen people accelerate round the bend where it opens up, and I’ve also seen people go by at 50 to 60mph, totally disregarding the signage.
“My main concern is that we have some elderly people on site who are scared to walk out and cross the road, especially as there is no footpath.
“I’ve contacted Bath and North East Somerset Council to ask about them installing more signage and flashing warnings to make more people aware of the speed limit, but I haven’t had a response.
“I know all councils have issues with money, as I’ve worked in the system, but my major issue is that I don’t want to be sat here in a few months time saying I told you so.”
Mr Cockle also told the Voice that he has spoken to Hal Macfie, Lib Dem councillor for Keynsham East, regarding a petition for more signage to be installed.
Mr McFie commented: “The residents are absolutely right to raise this. As a pedestrian leaving the site, I found I had to cross over the road to get to a footpath, as there is none on the Rockhill side of the road, and it is a blind bend with many cars doing more than 20mph - no place for someone who finds it difficult to walk fast! I will write immediately to the Traffic Management team. I believe it will take more than signage or a mirror, more like speed bumps or a chicane.”
After another incident on the Wellsway in June, a spokesman for B&NES Council told Keynsham Voice that the authority is looking into ways to improve the safety of pedestrians.
Following the latest concerns being raised, Councillor Joanna Wright, cabinet member for transport services, said: “Wellsway has clear signage and road markings at regular intervals to remind drivers of the 20mph speed limit, and a mobile flashing ‘20’ sign is often placed near the entrance to the Rock Hill Estate.
“Bath and North East Somerset Council does not permit mirrors because of the potential glare that can be caused from headlights and some mirrors can give a misleading impression of how close vehicles are.
“We are committed to improving road safety. We are currently investigating the possibility of providing a new zebra crossing in Wellsway and will be undertaking local consultation on this over the coming months.”
Mr Cockle said he is interested in hearing from other residents who are concerned about the safety of the Wellsway. If you’d like to contact him, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org