Long-awaited Wheathampstead crossing is finally given go-ahead

Determined Wheathampstead villagers have finally succeeded in getting the go-ahead for a new pedestrian crossing.

PEOPLE power has come to the fore in Wheathampstead, where a pedestrian crossing on a busy central road has finally been given the green light after a decade-long push from locals.

However villagers’ patience will have to be stretched a little further as the new crossing will not be installed on Marford Road until 2012/13.

Hertfordshire County Council was forced to reverse an earlier decision to block residents’ request for safe access after villagers banded together to count the number of pedestrians crossing Marford Road.

Council had originally rejected calls for the crossing, despite fears that someone would be struck by a vehicle and die, saying results of earlier surveys did not match its criteria for providing one

In April last year a group of more than 30 determined residents surveyed the road which links villagers to High Street shops, doctor’s surgery and other vital amenities.

Over a 12-hour-period they counted about 1,700 crossings, including 113 dogs being walked across the busy stretch.

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Cllr Annie Brewster said that one of those volunteers was a man who took time off work to take part in the survey as his partner’s grandmother had been hit by a vehicle.

Herts Advertiser has been publicising the long-running campaign, including an article on a disabled pensioner who was badly shaken after being nearly knocked down by a car while carrying a prescription back home to her husband who was recovering from knee replacement surgery.

Cllr Brewster said: “Wheathampstead residents are the perfect advert for the Big Society in action. We discovered what was required, spread the word and they rose to the challenge brilliantly.”

Preliminary work will begin next month, when Herts Highways surveys Marford Road to determine the best place to site the pedestrian crossing.

County council allocation of funding for the project has also been welcomed by David Johnston, chairman of the Wheathampstead Village Business Group, WEB, who said: “There has been a problem with an increase in volume of traffic on Marford Road and the speed it goes through there, particularly during rush hour. I’m delighted the crossing is going ahead.”