PETITIONING residents are furious that their call for road safety measures at an ‘accident blackspot’ where young children are at risk has been rejected by the council, say opposition councillors.
Conservative ward councillors were responding to a decision by city services cabinet member Jayne Innes to ‘take no further action’ at Hockley Lane in Eastern Green.
A petition was signed by 739 residents, one of the largest received by Coventry City Council.
Its call for specific improvements following the loss of a lollypop man – for either traffic lights, a mini roundabout or pelican crossing – was rejected today (Monday, December 12) by Coun Innes, cabinet member for city services, at her formal cabinet member meeting.
In the meeting, Tory councillors report she also ‘threatened to have Cllr Julia Lepoidevin who presented the petition forcibly removed from the meeting’.
Evidence was presented of a recent multi-vehicle collision at the site, and an earlier petition, say the opposition councillors.
The ward councillors say the junction of Hockley Lane and Upper Eastern Green Road is ‘unique because it is home to three educational sites’.
Families can have a child in the pre-school playgroup or St Andrews Primary School on Church Lane, and a child in Eastern Green Junior School off nearby Sutton Avenue.
The Conservative councillors point to council research showing a spike in pedestrians at the start and end of the school day.
Campaigners say more needs to be done to deter speeding above the 30mph limit, and the 20mph signs on the approach to schools.
They also believe heavy goods vehicles are using the route as a cut through to the A45 – instead of using Broad Lane.
Woodlands Conservative councillor Julia Lepoidevin said: “Like many others I’m very disappointed by this decision today because it’s clear that many motorists aren’t obeying the speed limit.
“As a mother myself I’m deeply concerned about this situation and I just wish the council would think of the children.
“Unfortunately Cllr Jayne Innes wouldn’t listen to parents today and at one point she threatened to remove me from the meeting. However, we won’t give up this fight – I just hope nobody else gets hurt before the council acts.”
Fellow Woodlands ward Councillor Peter Male said: “This decision is really disappointing and it’s a missed opportunity to explore road safety options that work for everyone.
“Clearly motorists have to take responsibility for their own actions but the council can’t simply walk away from its duty to protect the public like this. We’ll study this report and consider our response in line with the wishes of parents.”
Councillor Gary Ridley said: “I’d like to invite Coun Innes along to Hockley Lane so she can speak to residents and gauge the anger people are feeling for herself.”
The officers’ report recommended Coun Innes notes measures to continue monitoring the site as proposed from April next year, ‘actions already taken’ including the 20mph restriction; and a replacement school crossing patrol officer already working at the location.
Coun Innes responded: “It is completely untrue to say the petition was rejected. It was not rejected. The highways team has been reviewing this junction, and Hockley Lane generally, for some time.
“Since the petition was submitted in September a new school crossing patrol has started work, and combined with the recently installed advisory 20mph Speed Limit signs which are operational at school times, we feel road safety concerns are being addressed.
“We made it clear that this stretch of highway is being closely monitored, and that the issue will come back to my cabinet member meeting in April.
I was very disappointed by the conduct of Coun Lepodivan in this meeting.
Despite being given the floor for an unlimited time, she chose not to take advantage of this to make all the points she wished to raise.
She then made numerous attempts to butt in over other speakers, and from the Chair I had to ask her to stop. This is unacceptable behaviour from anyone, especially a councillor as experienced as Coun Lepodivan. When she continued to butt in, I sadly had to point out to her that I would have to have her removed from the meeting if she didn’t then stop.
“Cabinet member meetings are important for the governance of the council, and I cannot allow mine to be brought into disrepute.”