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Hundreds sign Evenwood Gate A688 petition as road safety fight pushes on

VILLAGERS are going to the top after council officers dismissed concerns about speeding shared by hundreds of people in Evenwood.
Durham Police Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg will be asked to do what Durham County Council has refused to do – take action to improve the safety of the A688 through Evenwood Gate.
Residents have made repeated complaints about cars going too quickly along the road, which has a 40mph limit. The problem is so bad that a school coach company has re-routed its pick-up and drop-off points.
A petition has also been started by Evenwood Gate resident John Wallace who wants to see a reduction in the speed limit. The petition currently has nearly 300 signatures. Calls are also being made for speed cameras.
However, Durham County Council has refused to allocate one of its “visor signs” which flash up driver speeds as a reminder, as well as monitor traffic and speed.
But campaigners are not disheartened and plan to ask Mr Hogg for help when he attends a public meeting at Randolph Community Centre, in Evenwood, on Monday, September 26. The meeting, which starts at 6pm, aims to discuss local policing. Mr Hogg will attend another meeting in Evenwood in October.
Mr Wallace, who was one of those who helped reduce the limit from 60mph to 40mph several years ago, said there had been a good response to his petition.
He said: “They have the same concerns about speed and people overtaking on the wrong side of the island.”
The issue was discussed at this month’s parish council meeting when a letter from the county council’s traffic team was read out.
It said all of the authority’s speed warning signs were in use elsewhere and no more would be made available for Evenwood Gate. A spokesman added that moving the 40mph signs further from the village would “dilute” the effectiveness of the road layout and have “no effect on traffic speeds through Evenwood Gate”.
The county council also rejected concerns about access dangers caused by housing being built on the former Brown Jug pub, just off the A688 in the village.
“If the Brown Jug is redeveloped, it is unlikely that this would affect the decision as to where the 40mph signs would commence nor would we consider to further reduce the speed limit,” the council said. 
But Evenwood parish clerk Martin Clark told the meeting: “But they have done it before. They moved the 30mph zone further out at Ingleton but now they won’t consider it for Evenwood Gate.”
Cllr Rachael Webb revealed that she asked the coach company which picks up students from Evenwood Gate to change its route.
She said: “The students were having to cross the road – it’s so busy that they were waiting 15 minutes to cross. The traffic goes too quickly. But the coach route has been reversed so it now picks up and drops them off by the Brown Jug, so they don’t have to cross the road. We’re trying to eliminate the chances of an accident.”
Parish chairwoman Barbara Nicholson said villagers should be well prepared when Mr Hogg visits Evenwood.
“People have a lot of questions for him about this,” she said.

24/09/2016

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