A PARENT whose daughter was knocked down by a car on her way to school has begun a road safety campaign aiming for a pedestrian crossing in Tanners Lane and for cars to slow down in the town centre.
Rupert Raymond, whose 11-year-old daughter escaped serious injury when she was struck by a car on her way to the station last week, was so incensed after the accident, he immediately contacted The Herald and local councillors before calling a “street meeting” near the crash spot.
Around 60 residents, including concerned parents and children on their way to school turned out for Tuesday morning’s meeting.
They met with county councillor Nikki Barton, Haslemere Mayor Melanie Odell, Stephen Mulliner, who represents Haslemere East and Grayswood on Waverley Borough Council and Stewart Brown, the head of Haslemere Vision.
St Bartholomew’s Primary School head Charles Beckerson also joined the meeting at the junction of Oaklands and Tanners Lane.
Mr Raymond, from Bridge Road, said his daughter Amelie was fortunate to got away with light injuries due to the “responsible speed and driving of the individual behind the wheel”. But he blamed the incident on “poor visibility” and the confusion many citizens feel in making the crossing over a fast, wide road where there are no speed controls, nor help for the crossing pedestrian.
He said: “There were a large number of points of view expressed about the danger to pedestrians at the top end of Tanners Lane where it meets Bridge Road, at the bottom end of Tanners Lane, where the road meets Lower Street – and generally about the ability for cars to get up to speed, as well as the poor visibility and risks around the entrance to the car park.”
Dr Robert Rist, who lives at Oaklands, said: “At the junction with Lower Street, I have seen a boy knocked off his bike and numerous old people struggling to make the crossing. It is dangerous and one of these days someone is going to be seriously hurt.”
The 60-strong residents’ group then walked up Tanners Lane to near the junction of Bridge Road, where Bridge Road and Pope’s Mead residents expressed fears to councillors of crossing the road with children.
Mr Beckerson said: “I have seen clearly the increase in the amount of traffic in Haslemere over the past few years. I would like for there to be a crossing on Tanners Lane to improve the safety of all pedestrians, especially children in the vicinity of my school.”
Mr Raymond has started a petition calling for a crossing and other pedestrian safety measures in Tanner Lane, and will run a community speed watch campaign with residents as soon as possible.
Mrs Barton, told The Herald: “I fully support the request by residents, and the pupils, parents and teachers at St Bart’s to address the issue of pedestrian safety along Bridge Road and Tanners Lane. I will be meeting with Surrey highways and the police to discuss what measures can be taken as a matter of urgency.”
She had raised the issue at a full county council meeting which took place the same day as the street meeting, and would bring it to the next Waverley local committee meeting, which can approve funds for local highway schemes.
Mr Mulliner, who sits on that committee, said: “Perhaps the most useful aspect of the meeting was to show the councillors how much pedestrian activity there is at about 8am. Given the location of St Bart’s and the station for those commuting and going to Bohunt, and other schools, by train, it was clear Surrey needs to be asked to consider installing a zebra crossing towards the Bridge Road end to aid parents and children going to St Barts.”
He also said the pavement at the Lower Street junction needs to be built out to compel motorists turning left into Tanners Lane to slow down significantly.
“This would provide a safer crossing point for those going to the station,” Mr Mulliner added.
Mayor Melanie Odell added: “Several interesting comments and suggestions were made and county council officers will be visiting the area in the near future to assess the situation.
“Haslemere Town Council has invited Mr Raymond to address the next appropriate meeting, when hopefully information from Surrey will be available and an informed discussion can be had. We are very pleased Mr and Mrs Raymond’s daughter is well on the way to recovery.”
Mr Raymond said speed on the road, and in Haslemere in general, had always been a concern to him.
The meeting with councillors was the beginning of a drive to raise awareness with them that more needs to be done to improve the safety of pedestrians in the town.
It was not just about the essential measures that the council can instigate, he said, but the need to “make the pedestrian king again”, he said.
“Let’s do this for the pedestrian and for commonsense,” said Mr Raymond.
“We are supposed to be a highly civilised nation and yet we have allowed the car to dominate too much in our town centres and this puts the lives of our children at risk, and is affecting our quality of life.”
Mr Raymond, who used to live at the other end of town, where his daughter attended Shottermill Junior School, also canvassed the opinion of school heads Jilly Storey and Kate Barnes.
Infants headteacher Mrs Storey said: “It is up to all of us to have more consideration on the roads.
“There are too many parents, as well as commuters, who also manoeuvre dangerously and drive too fast on their way to school. And furthermore there are many who could walk the short distance that they drive."
Juniors head Mrs Barnes, added: “Wherever possible we would like to see children walking to school.
“With the increase in traffic there is a greater risk of an incident. I support a 20-miles-an-hour limit to roads around schools in particular, in order to encourage better awareness and lower the risks.”