An infamous speeding and accident hotspot in Hunslet Carr is the focus of a growing local campaign, with residents furious about the apparent inaction from the Council – whilst the number of accidents pile up month on month.
The s-bend on Pepper Road (just north of the motorway from Hunslet Cemetery and Belle Isle) has seen dozens of serious accidents in the past few years, with many drivers apparently taking the corner at 40-50mph, residents finding their garden walls demolished on an almost monthly basis, and earlier this year one driver having to be cut free from her crashed car by the Fire Service.
Locals have been trying to highlight the issue for over ten years, but the situation has worsened considerably since the installation of speed bumps and other restrictions on Belle Isle Road in 2013 – leading to Pepper Road becoming a cut-through.
Last year, the Hunslet Carr Residents Association took up the cause and petitioned the Council for changes – and at first seemed to make progress. However, Kenny Saunders, chair of the Association, commented this week:
“It’s 18 months since we first brought this up with the Council – and although staff from the Highways team did come out to look at it just over a year ago, we’ve heard almost nothing since. In the meantime, there’ve been 12 serious accidents (and smaller ones too) – not too mention all those people, especially older members of the community, having to dodge the speeding traffic every day. It’s a nightmare.”
The Council’s Highways department have apologised for the delays, and promised to chase up the contractors due to do the work. But even then, their proposals – for speed bumps and a 20mph speed limit – are, according to the locals residents, far too modest.
Kenny continues: “With the problem such it is, these measures are totally inadequate. We need crash barriers on the bends, a pedestrian crossing, or perhaps even speed cameras. And we really need it as soon as possible – or else it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed.”
Other local residents each have their own stories and stats to share. Rod Rawson is one of those worst affected: his garden wall has been knocked down or damaged 3 times in the past year alone. Barry Dutton is – with his wife Catherine – another:
“We’ve had our garden wall demolished nine times with these accidents. And it’s getting worse: it used to happen every 2-3 years, now it’s yearly. Sometimes we’ve been lucky with insurance claims, but sometimes not: we’ve ended up paying out about £3,000-4,000 ourselves on repairs. We could pursue compensation from the Council, or even move house – but why should we? Why can’t the Council do something?”
At a photo shoot organised to highlight the issue this week, also covered by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal commented: “It’s disappointing. It’s 14 months since this was raised with the Highways department, we’ve been promised that it’s in process, but still these delays. Why do we need to wait for something like a fatal accident before something is done?”
The Hunslet Carr Residents Association are an active local group, who meet the first Thursday of each month at Woodhouse Hill Community Centre at 6.30pm (more info here) – all welcome.