EXCLUSIVE: Remarkable step forward for safety campaign as Cambs County Council moves to installing safety barrier
AN extraordinary campaign supported by the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard has prompted an extraordinary response from Cambridgeshire County Council which will now consider putting a safety barrier at Bedlam Bridge near March.
Money raised by The Fenland Road Safety Campaign, headed by Graham Chappell, can now go into a shared pool to fund the estimated �10-12,000 cost of the first barrier alongside the Sixteen Foot Drain.
Mr Chappell’s efforts – which included a sponsored cycle ride from Tipps Ends to Lands End - have been recognised by the county council which conducted barrier push tests at Bedlam Bridge.
“I do think it is encouraging to have achieved the level of co-operation that we have,” said Mr Chappell.
“This is something has been developed through the A1101 campaign, our Charlotte’s Way campaign and the Guyhirn school speed limit campaign.
“However, if we can achieve this breakthrough together it will be a remarkable step forward.”
Councillor Steve Criswell, county council Cabinet member for community infrastructure, said he would now welcome a bid from the safety campaign to jointly provide a barrier at the bridge.
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“We invite the bid to come forward to be considered with other suggestions made by communities,” he said.
“Improving road safety is a goal that we all share and new policies to work much more closely with communities is now starting to show real benefits.
“Working closely with campaign groups and the Cambs Times and the Wisbech Standard on the Fenland Road safety campaign has brought greater understanding to all parties and helped driven forward ideas that allow locally raised money to go towards providing community led solutions with our support.
“Having these mature conversations with communities is something we are rolling out as part of the council’s commitment to engaging more with residents and seeing how we can all work together to make our county safer”
Mr Chappell set up the campaign following the death of schoolgirl Charlotte Walker in the Sixteen Foot three and a half years ago.
His family were friends of the Walkers and Graham’s wife taught Charlotte at Townley Primary School, Christchurch. The death prompted him to launch the campaign in her memory.
Mr Chappell said the county council’s road safety team had confirmed that design specifications put the cost at up to �12,000 for an installation to one side of Bedlam Bridge.
He said: “This is the campaign’s preferred installation arrangement as the greatest risk is clearly to the Stonea side of the bridge for vehicles turning right from the Sixteen Foot Bank road onto the bridge and heading towards March.”
He added that he had been advised to make an approach for funding under the county’s ‘jointly funded work programme’ and it will be considered for financing in 2012/13.