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Southwell Town Council reject Via East Midlands offer of double yellow lines on Bishop’s Drive as it continues pavement push for pedestrian safety

Councillors have rejected an offer for double yellow lines on a “dangerous” route to a school and park, claiming it would make the situation worse.

Southwell Town Council member Steve Perry criticised highways authority Via for considering “cars first and everyone else if they’re lucky” despite the Highway Code’s hierarchy, after it was reported at a full council meeting that the highways department had ruled out creating a footpath on Bishop’s Drive.

The stretch of Bishop’s Drive in question, between the entrance to Bishop’s Manor and the War Memorial, has double yellow lines on one side and is parking permitted on the other — and is frequently lined with parked cars, creating a single track road.

Bishop's Drive, Southwell.
Bishop's Drive, Southwell.

Councillors have been pushing for a pavement to improve safety pedestrians on the road for many months, as it is a busy route used by pupils walking to Southwell Minster School and a main access to War Memorial Recreation Ground its children’s play park.

The news that Via said it could not create a footpath was first presented to the council’s planning committee, earlier in the month.

It was explained as being due to guidance from the Department for Transport (DfT) on how pavements should be build and the space requirements.

Instead, Via offered double yellow lines on the other side of the road, an idea which councillors were unanimously against.

Roger Blaney said: “Personally I think double yellow lines would be much worse.”

Councillors feared the double yellow lines would allow the road to be used as a two-way street, increasing the speed and flow of traffic and making the area more dangerous for pedestrians.

The current parked cars are considered to be safer as they force oncoming traffic to slow down, although Steve Perry described the road as “really dangerous” and said it would only need one person’s foot to slip on the clutch to “take out” a number of pedestrians.

He added: “What is more important here, the traffic flow or the large number of people walking along there.

“The fact that there’s been no accidents there is a blessing.”

Peter Harris added that he did not understand the highways authority’s objection to a pavement, as it would “solve the problem”.

It was also raised by Steve Perry that the DfT guidance was for new build roads, while Bishop’s Drive was an old road. He requested that at its next meeting with Via the council not willingly accept the refusal to build a pavement.

Karen Roberts suggested that the council approach the owner of land adjacent to the road to ask if a portion could be used as a footpath, separated from the road. It was agreed that this idea would be passed to the planning committee to discuss.

Jamie Bostock added that a pavement separated from the road would be “a dream” for visually impaired users.

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