Bridge path not 'safe and secure'

January 07 2020

It was with great interest that I read the article in the previous edition of St Peter’s Voice about the footbridge across Crookbarrow Way and how this was considered to be the start of the link between St Peter’s and Norton.

Until recently, I ran the Norton Youth Club, based at the Norton Cricket Club ground. The club has run for seven years and attracted many of the community’s young people to be members and join a thriving environment of fun, social interaction and sports.

Throughout this period we had young people attend who lived in St Peter’s. At that time, they were either dropped off by parents or walked to the club, meaning they had to cross the busy and very dangerous dual carriageway, the Southern Link Road.

It was with great relief that we heard of the actions to form a link path between Norton and St Peter’s which would allow people a safe journey to and from the areas so as to take part in various activities on offer, such as the youth club, the cricket and shooting clubs, or be able to walk to the shops in St Peter’s or visit friends or just explore the areas.

However, in my opinion, the procedures that [Worcestershire] County Council has followed to make these links, i.e. the bridge pathway along Brockhill Lane and beyond, is flawed.

The idea is great but the delivery of their plan falls woefully short of being safe and secure for all, principally because there is no planned installation of any lighting along the beginning of the link, i.e. Brockhill Lane.

Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council has consulted with the county officers on this very issue only to be told that there is no money for improvements to their plan.

The parish council, I am sure, will continue to lobby on behalf of both communities but its hands are tied and the link road will therefore remain a hazard to journey along.

The reason is, I believe that someone at the county council has drawn a line on a map which, to them, will be the link for all to pass along but has not thought about the reality of its use, especially considering the safeguarding or taken into account the welfare of the people who would wish to use this link.

There are no lights along Brockhill Lane and, from experience, I know the section is “pitch black” and therefore potentially dangerous for anyone, let alone young people to travel along.

On many an occasion the youth club members and staff have commented that they would not attend the youth club from Norton using that access road as they did not feel safe because of the potential problems that sadly could occur in today’s environment.

For a solution, there are, in fact, many different types of lighting which are not too intrusive with regards to the local environment and current residents, i.e. lights set on low posts which can be triggered on and off by people approaching and departing the area.

It is very disappointing that such lighting has not been considered or that there are plans to improve the area.

It makes me wonder how many thousands of pounds have been spent on making this link path across a very elaborate bridge which, I believe, will become a massively expensive white elephant, with little or no use.

When, oh when, will our county council staff step up and get these roadways made safe for all of us to use.

 

Dennis Hodgkins, concerned community member, Norton