County council leader accuses town councillor of an attempt to ‘rewrite history’ as they clash over safety on March road where car overturned

Norwood Road, March, aftermarth

Norwood Road, March, aftermarth - Credit: Archant

The leader of Cambridgeshire County Council attacked a fellow March councillor accusing her of an attempt to “rewrite history” over road safety measures on the road where a Mercedes overturned and crashed.

Norwood Road, March, aftermarth

Norwood Road, March, aftermarth - Credit: Archant

The exchange of words happened on social media as council leader Steve Count and Councillor Jan French debated Friday’s night incident in Norwood Road.

Cllr Count has long championed improvements on the road and claims that town councillors – including Cllr French- prevented improvements going ahead.

But Cllr French retorted: “Steve, you are bending the truth again. Get all the facts correct.”

The argument flared after the car overturned and crashed, damaging a parked car and causing damage to two bungalows. The driver fled the scene.

Norwood Road, March, aftermarth

Norwood Road, March, aftermarth - Credit: Archant

Cllr Count claimed that Cllr French voted with other town councillors “at a special Friday daytime meeting to cancel the traffic calming project”. The scheme had been put forward by Cllr Count but required partial funding from the town council that was refused.

Cllr French insisted that the town council had agreed to part fund calming measures but that the county council “could not come up with a way forward; they have to re look at it”

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She said: “I have supported road safety for over 25 years and will continue to do so. I have already had residents calling for a 20 mph limit at school times re the hit and run earlier in the day.”

Cllr French said she remained supportive of action and despite attending a council meeting in Huntingdon to discuss it, 18 months later the county council still had not come up with any plan.

Aftermath of car that crashed into bungalows in Norwood Road, March

Aftermath of car that crashed into bungalows in Norwood Road, March - Credit: Archant

She said police had told the town council that if a speed limit was put in place there were no resources to monitor it.

“March Town Council earmarked money for Norwood Road improvements. County council officers, after 18 months, did not come up with a solution.” The town council decided not to progress it.

She said a fellow councillor Kit Owen had a report from the county council in which they had told the town council “they did not know the answer.”

But Cllr Count claimed Cllr French’s comment was “the most disingenuous post I have ever read.

“March Town Council of which Cllr French is a councillor, pulled out, not Cambridgeshire County Council. The town council refused to allow the highways engineer to attend to suggest ways forward.

“This attempt to rewrite history is as bizarre as their decision to pull out.”

Cllr Count said the only person mentioning speed bumps “is you Jan in order to divert attention away from the town council’s decisions.

“If you would have let the highways engineer attend the meeting you could have discussed options. If you don’t want people pointing out you were party to an extremely controversial decision to turn down county council funding then you shouldn’t have voted it through.”

One Norwood Road resident said: “People from the area have been warning this type of collision would happen due to the brainless idiots that speed down this road.

“Speed bumps would stop this and at not a huge cost plus the law has to be more active in stopping these idiots especially late at night driving around at speed; they are totally not on this planet.”

Cllr French added: “Speed kills as we all know. If something can be done to prevent road traffic collisions then anything that can be done is good”

One woman wrote: “On behalf of my parents, who live to the left of that photo, and who are currently unable to comment, as they have no phone line- whether March Town Council or Cambridgeshire County Council are responsible for not prioritising road safety along many of the roads in March is currently immaterial.

“Both councils and the local police need to work together to resolve these issues. It also goes without saying that anyone exceeding speed limits in residential areas is incredibly irresponsible and as a society we all need to ask ourselves why we think speeding is still socially acceptable.”

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