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18:00 - 29
|Woodspring MP Liam Fox found time for a
whistle-stop tour of his constituency last week before heading
out to Basra and Afghanistan.|
Friday the shadow defence secretary came to Portishead with
shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling to discover
first-hand some of the traffic problems in the
The latest draft of the Greater Bristol Strategic
Transport Study recently revealed an ambitious proposal to
build a new road bridge over the River Avon.
chiefs believe a new crossing would relieve the M5 bridge at
Avonmouth of local traffic and reduce congestion
But campaigners, who spoke to Dr Fox and Mr
Grayling about their concerns, criticised the plans, adding
that £3 million spent on reopening the Portishead to Bristol
railway line for passenger trains would be more
The MPs also travelled to Nailsea to
discuss the expansion of Bristol International Airport and the
effect it would have on surrounding villages.
Saturday morning, Dr Fox joined residents in Clevedon who have
launched a campaign to reduce the speed of traffic near the
Old Street, which runs through the
town centre, is notorious for its history of accidents and
In December last year, town council
chairman David Shopland was knocked down by a car on a zebra
crossing while walking to a meeting. He spent more than two
months in hospital after suffering serious injuries and, six
months later, he is still recovering.
accidents such as this, traffic calming in Old Street,
according to one resident, is not being regarded as a main
Resident Hugh Brougham has been living in the
street for three years.
So far he has collected more
than 200 names on a petition and expects the numbers to rise
substantially when all the sheets are collected.
said: "I started the campaign because I felt something had to
"I have spoken to the Highways Agency and they
said that Old Street was not a priority because there had been
no fatal accidents. So basically, somebody has to lose their
life before someone will do something about it.
think that is a pathetic excuse and unacceptable and we will
fight until something is done.
"We would like a survey
to be done to assess the dangers and speed limits to be
"Many people do not abide by the speed limit
and at night some cars get up to 80mph along here.
is very dangerous and we believe replacing the zebra crossing
with a pelican crossing would be a good start.
least that way you would be able to cross safely and the
traffic would have to stop.
"But also because it's a
long straight road, whether it's a speed camera or humps, the
traffic somehow has to be slowed down."
And it seems
even people who don't live in Old Street are concerned about
the danger of the road.
Mum Beverly Cockerill, of
Porlock Close, said: "Although I don't live in the street, my
son went to Highdale Nursery and there is definitely a problem
and people do speed here."
Michelle Thorogood, who
lives in Weston, came to Clevedon especially to sign the
She said: "My children go to Clevedon
Community School and it is worrying.
"Sadly, it's the
same old story. It takes someone to be run over before
something gets done.
"The same thing happened at Mary
Elton - a young girl was killed before anything was done to
slow traffic down."
Dr Fox, who has now added his name
to Mr Brougham's petition, said: "This is one of a number of
places locally where there is a lot of public concern about
safety on the roads, with ever more congested roads and higher
speeds from many cars.
"But in this particular place we
have got a huge level of activity crossing the road. There is
the cottage hospital, the health centre and local schools, and
there is a worry that the view is being taken that it is not a
problem until someone is injured, which is not a responsible
way to do things.
"This is clearly a difficult place
because there are two different junctions, a zebra crossing
and two bus stops, and it requires someone with knowledge of
these things to sit down and plan this whole area properly to
make sure you can maximise traffic flow but minimise the risk
to the public and to youngsters who are using this
After talking to residents Dr Fox made his
way back to London before flying to Basra and Afghanistan
where he is spending four days on the frontline. During his
trip he will visit British troops and talk to commanders about
the current situation.
Dr Fox also recently visited
Hannah More Primary School in Nailsea where there are similar
problems with traffic.
"I have suggested taking
representatives from both areas to Weston to meet North
Somerset Council highways officials to see if something can be
sorted out before someone is injured further," he
Constituents could see Dr Fox a bit more as the
shadow defence secretary is hoping to move with his wife
Jesme, a cancer specialist, to Tickenham in the near