At last night’s meeting of the Planning Committee of Marlborough Town Council (Monday 17 June) three residents – Vera Hamblin, Jackie Gill and Fred Briers handed in a petition of more than 600 signatories requesting that a crossing be installed in the town’s busy High Street.
“The current crossing by the Town Hall is not safe”…. “Cars ignore pedestrians”….. ”It’s difficult to get across the High Street to buy a pint of milk” stated Vera Hamblin who organised last night’s petition and was instrumental in drumming up the support from residents, visitors and anyone who uses the High Street.
“Why should motorists have priority in the main shopping street” asked Jackie Gill, who, along with Vera and Fred Briers campaigned to make the petition successful. ”Why should the pedestrian rely on the goodwill of the motorist” she demanded to know, whilst asking Councillors present if they believed that the difficulties encountered by every pedestrian when attempting to dodge between the moving cars enhanced the High Street experience.
Fred Briers questioned whether we should all wait until a serious accident took place before taking some action. He noted that that the Area Plan called for ‘adequate safe crossing in all areas of traffic and pedestrian conflict’.
Councillors applauded the petitioners at the end of their presentation, and discussed later how this could be taken forward. There was general support for some improvement in pedestrian safety but, as Cllr Brian Castle pointed out the three crossings created for the College were paid for by the College rather than funded out of the public purse. Deputy Mayor Cllr Mark Cooper noted that it was “incredible to get more than 600 people to sign a petition such as this in such a short space of time” and that the Council should move this forward with support.
Councillors decided to give ‘strong endorsement’ to this petition as, Mayor Mervyn Hall pointed out, the Council had absolutely no powers over Highways, but could take it forward with support to the Community Area Transport Group (CATG) and then on to Wiltshire Council for consideration, whilst looking also to seek further advice from experts who could offer some tangible and practical routes forward.
Committee Chair Susie Price paid a special note of thanks to Vera Hamblin, Jackie Gill and Fred Briers for all their efforts in making this a viable campaign.