'You have to take your life in your hands' crossing 'horrendous' junction on busy Northampton road
Call for safe pedestrian crossing at busy Northampton junction backed by council
A motion has been backed by West Northamptonshire Council calling for a safe pedestrian crossing at a busy junction in Northampton described as “horrendous” by the authority's lead member for highways.
Councillor Phil Larratt, cabinet member for transport, highways, environment and waste services, told Thursday's full council meeting he tried crossing the junction of Billing Road and Rushmere Road.
He said: “I actually found out on Monday morning (July 12) just how horrendous that junction is for pedestrians. You do take your life in your hands when you do.”
The motion was submitted by councillor Julie Davenport. It read: 'As a public authority we have a duty to ensure our residents’ safety, and this includes on our roads.
'Hundreds of students and vulnerable residents have had no choice but to cross the very busy, unsafe junction of the Billing Road and Rushmere Road in Northampton.
'The junction does not have any safe pedestrian crossing points.
'This council assures residents that this council will explore ways of making the Rushmere Road and Billing Road traffic light junction a safe place for our children, adults and vulnerable residents to cross.'
Councillor Davenport said: "This motion is a desperate move to solve a desperate situation.
"Now the Rushmere and Billing Road junction has been a major issue for years.
"I took my life into my own hands when I tried to cross it with a car suddenly appearing from the right as I crossed.
"How do you think parents feel sending their children to school. They are told 'don't drive them to school - let them walk.'
"If you have to get into work by 9am you can't walk with them but it's too dangerous for them to go on their own.
"Now the residents say that it will take a death at that junction to get anything done."
Councillor Larratt said: "Can I say how much I support this motion tonight.
"I find it a bit unnecessary as we're already working on this scheme.
"It's a scheme that I, and other councillors, met with the former county council portfolio holder about 12 months or so ago. And it's something that we've been very mindful of.
"You've got Northampton School for Boys and two primary schools around the corner, it is a horrendous junction.
"And I actually found out on Monday morning (July 12) just how horrendous that junction is for pedestrians.
"Because, Stuart Timmiss and I, and a couple of other officers, actually went up there to look at it.
"And I haven't, as a pedestrian, tried crossing it before although I cross it three or four times a day.
"As a pedestrian I haven't, and you do take your life in your hands when you do. It is a horrendous junction and we fully appreciate it needs working on.
"We've been discussing it with officers for a long, long time and currently plans are under way, or schemes are currently being looked at and drawn up to bring the scheme forward.
"So hopefully, I can't give a firm commitment on the date, but it is being worked on and we've got to find the money.
"But it is a top priority in order to secure the safety, particularly of children in that area."