Many of you will have seen emotional reports on social media of a horrific accident in Charlton Village recently. A local lady, full of joy at the birth of her grandchild the day before, was walking back from Longacres along the pavement and was fatally struck by a car. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pavements were invented so that we can walk in safety next to a road. But not in Charlton Village.
Traffic thunders down the road and through the village at speed; lorries coming from the Eco Park or the Littleton gravel pit, or commuters coming off the A308 and cutting down to Shepperton or Laleham. A traffic survey done a number of years ago estimated 96,000 vehicles every day. The same survey found that 60,000 of the vehicles were speeding as they went through the village.
Now that you get the picture, imagine trying to cross the road. The least you would expect is that there is a pedestrian crossing. But no! there is only a traffic island.
Something has to be done.
We attended a hastily convened meeting in the village the day before we went to print with the February magazine. It was a packed room, rippling with upset and frustration but resolute in the need to come together as a village and find a solution. It was surprising to find that despite invitations, no local councillors, county councillor or highways representatives had come to the meeting. We understand that they are waiting for the official police and traffic management report into how the accident happened before making comment. However, showing a face at such a meeting would have shown sympathy and care. These residents needed to have the chance to air their collective views and they speak as one in terms of what they want:
1. traffic calming measures to ensure that cars travel at no more than 30mph through the village
2. A pedestrian crossing so that children/mums with buggies/dog walkers etc can cross the road without fearing for their lives
3. A solution found to the flooding on roads in the village which happens every time in rains (see photo) and which adds to the danger
Going back 25 years, Spelthorne Borough Council were looking at traffic calming proposals. We have seen the proposal from 1993 which states “the continued rise in car ownership throughout the Borough is creating problems at many locations. In Charlton there is concern about the overall volume and speed of traffic”
At the time proposals were to place mini roundabouts at key junctions to slow traffic and allow flow from side roads (one lady told me it took her 7.5 minutes to turn right out of her road recently). The leaflet seeks feedback from residents and says “Once approved, a scheme would be implemented as soon as funding could be made available from Surrey County Council”.
Therein lies the problem! In an ideal world we are sure the council would like to do a lot more than it does. However, the latest incident is only one of the many accidents in the village (7 in 6 weeks last autumn. 2 in 5 days this January).
This is about finding a solution together. The village is a residential area and yet mothers will not let their children cross the road to go to the shop or park because of the very real and present danger.
These villagers are not being unreasonable. They desperately need something to be done.
The situation will be raised at the Spelthorne Joint Committee at Knowle Green on March 15th (date to be confirmed) 6.30pm when a petition for traffic calming will be presented. We urge you all to support this meeting by attending. Something has to be done. This dreadful death has to count for something.