How road safety campaign resulted in creation of landmark Harpenden roundabout

Brian Turberville, Steve Gledhill, Peter Lilley, Robert Hill, Tony Goodeve at the House of Commons

Brian Turberville, Steve Gledhill, Peter Lilley, Robert Hill, Tony Goodeve at the House of Commons - Credit: Archant

On a cold January morning 25 years ago this week, a young paper boy out delivering newspapers lost his life when the bicycle he was riding was in collision with a car south of Harpenden.

Justin Hadlow memorial bench

Justin Hadlow memorial bench - Credit: Archant

The accident that claimed the life of 13-year-old Justin Hadlow at 7.30am on Tuesday, January 15, 1991, occurred at the Walkers Road/Redbourn Lane junction on the A1081, a stretch of the busy St Albans road which had long concerned local residents.

Justin, of Longfield Road in Harpenden and a pupil at Roundwood Park School, died as a result of his injuries and his death has a profound effect on the local community.

His mother Carol Hadlow lived in Southdown and was well known locally.

At the time of the accident, the junction was a dog’s leg with the two west-east roads offset by about 100 metres. Residents wanted to see a roundabout installed there in its place and the action group Harpenden Roundabout Campaign was formed.

Comprising residents Robert Hill, Brian Turberville, Steve Gledhill, Mark Handford, Keith Jennings, David Newton and Tony Goodeve, the campaigners set about highlighting the need for improvements to the junction.

They lobbied Harpenden MP Peter Lilley and doughty county councillor for Harpenden South Iris Tarry. Local radio and the Herts Advertiser carried stories about the campaign and a petition was presented to Mr Lilley in the lobby of the Houses of Parliament.

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Sadly another fatal accident occurred at the same spot before action was taken but so successful was the campaign that around 15 months later in mid 1992, the county council and central government jointly funded the roundabout which is there today.

And Justin, whose death triggered the road safety campaign, is still remembered close to the site of the accident. A bench in his memory was installed on the touchline of Harpenden Rovers pitch on East Common to mark the fact that he used to play there with his friends.