‘Utter despair’ as speeding on ‘lawless’ road continues

Residents of a “lawless” road near two primary schools say their concerns about speeding are still being ignored after three years of campaigning.

Moorfield Road in Widnes has been the focus of a campaign to curb excessive speeds since 2017 over fears they could see someone killed or seriously injured.

But after a meeting with Halton Council and Cheshire Police last week, campaign leader Gary Clayton said he was “in utter despair” as requests for action hit a brick wall.

He told the ECHO: “The way they treated us is disgusting.”

Zilch - No Credit Check Finance

Over the years, Mr Clayton and his Moorfield Road Action Group have repeatedly raised concerns about safety on the road, which has a limit of 30mph but sees thousands of drivers reach more than double that speed.

Traffic reports from the road show that between June 22 and July 22 this year, more than half the drivers going down Moorfield Road broke the speed limit. Almost 2,000 cars were clocked going at more than 40mph, and one was even spotted going at more than 70mph.

But, Mr Clayton said, the council and police were unwilling to listen to his group’s concerns during their meeting.

He said: “It only mattered that there had been four accidents on the road in three years. They didn’t want to discuss the speeding.”

wirral airport transfers mersesysideairportservice.co.uk

Keep up to date with traffic and travel news in your area by adding your postcode below

Regarding last week’s meeting, a council spokesperson said: “At last week’s meeting the council and the police were in agreement that, although Moorfield Road would continue to be monitored, the accident statistics and evidence do not support any further intervention in this location.

“Resources are needed in other locations where evidence suggested a higher priority for intervention. In Halton, the Council has undertaken a highly effective road casualty reduction programme that has reduced the number of road traffic casualties by 72%.”

A spokesperson for Cheshire Police echoed the council’s comments, adding: “During the meeting they were informed that there were no collisions on Moorfield Road between 2019 and 2020.

Video Loading Click to play Tap to play The video will start in8Cancel Play now

“They were also informed that between 2017 and 2019 there were only four minor collisions on the road, and no serious or fatal collisions. These figures compare favourably with the vast majority of other roads in Widnes.

“Senior police officers and our partner agencies answered all of the residents’ questions regarding Moorfield Road safety concerns during the meeting.

“The residents have been given contact details of a dedicated local Beat Manager and PCSO so that they can raise any further concerns directly.

“They have also been invited to take part in our successful Community Speed Watch initiative, whereby they would receive training to participate in road safety activities on Moorfield Road.”

Top news stories

  • Dad on coke broke man's jaw at Pier Head
  • 'Major five car crash' closes M62
  • Louise 'knocked sideways' by Jamie pics
  • First human reinfected with coronavirus

However, Mr Clayton still believes there is more to be done, and disputed the claim that all of his group’s questions had been answered.

After the ECHO reported on Mr Clayton’s concerns in 2018, the council did install traffic splitters on the road, but he said these had had little effect.

He said: “They have brought [speeds] down from 100 to 80, so if you think that’s acceptable in a 30mph zone then that’s fair dos.”

The data provided by Mr Clayton shows that while the most excessive speeds have been curbed slightly since the splitter islands were installed, Moorfield Road routinely sees more than a third of cars breaking the speed limit.

According to a Halton Council spokesperson, the local authority has carried out 18 separate schemes on the road between 2003 and 2018 including erecting signage reminding drivers of the speed limit, painting “SLOW” signs and dragon’s teeth on the roads and installing rumble strips.

The spokesperson added: “Further work has been carried out in the last two years, including road safety education and Moorfield Road becoming a priority location for a police mobile speed camera.”

This also included a recent six-week operation by Cheshire Police to combat speeding, which saw 17 drivers issued with tickets for breaking the speed limit.

However, Mr Clayton believes that this is not enough and has ultimately made little difference to the problems he and other residents face.

He said: “The only viable solution to our on-going problems is for Halton Borough Council to install physical traffic calming measures at specific points on Moorfield Road to slow down the traffic flow in both directions.”

The council’s spokesperson added: "There has been a regular dialogue and extensive correspondence between the Council and members of the Moorfield Road Action Group over a long period of time regarding traffic flows and driver behaviour within the area, and ward councillors have also met with the group.

"The Council continues to regularly work closely with Cheshire Police regarding highway and traffic matters.

“This ensures we deploy available resources to best effect, reducing accident risk through changes to physical infrastructure, enforcement action, road safety education and raising driver awareness with the aim of influencing driver behaviour – motorists need to play their part in making our roads safer for all users.”