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Does Hungerford town centre have more than its fair share of car crashes?

Councillors ask why there are so many collisions

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886628

Does Hungerford town centre have more than its fair share of car crashes?

WHY do cars keep crashing in Hungerford town centre?

The question was discussed at a recent meeting of the town council’s highways and transport committee and was prompted by the most recent incident, in which a Volkswagen ploughed into the John O’Gaunt Inn last month.

Committee chairman Rob Brookman told the meeting: “It’s been suggested by one of our colleagues that perhaps extra traffic-calming measures, such as a pelican crossing, should be put in the High Street because of the incidents involving cars crashing.”

Councillor John Downe said: “It’s happened that someone has rammed a building even in a car park.

“Do we even know the cause of these accidents?”

His colleague, Rob Chicken, pointed out: “What is concerning is the frequency. 

“In the past four years there have been several accidents, but coming off the A4 there is a sharp bend by the John O’Gaunt [Inn], then a hump-back bridge.”

However, there have also been calls to introduce a pelican crossing – which would incorporate pedestrian-operated traffic lights – on the High Street, following several near misses and accidents at the zebra crossing by the red telephone kiosk.

Moving the kiosk to improve visibility would be problematic, Mr Brookman reminded the meeting, because it is Grade II-listed.

Mr Chicken remarked: “That seems to be considered a higher priority than human safety, but I don’t feel the number of incidents warrants excessive restrictions.”

And councillor John Downe remarked: “In fact, the behaviour of drivers at the crossing in Hungerford High Street is exemplary.”

Among the incidents in or near the High Street, which the committee considered, were the following:

  • March, 2012 – a car crashed into the town hall. The 89-year-old driver died later in hospital
  • September, 2016 – a car crashed into the frontage of Hungerford Nails
  • November, 2016 – a woman in her late 80s was seriously hurt when she was struck by a car on a zebra crossing in the High Street.
  • The driver was said to have suffered a “medical episode”.
  • December, 2016 – an 86-year-old woman passenger died following a crash in Tesco car park
  • Last month – a car crashed into the John O’Gaunt Inn, almost striking  a member of staff

Despite the toll, the committee felt that introducing extra traffic- calming measures would be an unnecessary intervention and unlikely to prevent such accidents in future.

Members therefore decided not to recommend such action to full council.

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Article comments

  • jterrier

    10/07/2018 - 23:11

    Combination of elderly drivers and automatic gearboxes.

    Reply

  • Hungerfordcis

    10/07/2018 - 21:09

    It is elderly/crap drivers that are to blame, without question - the speed limit and traffic calming measures in the town are sufficient - three of the incidents were nothing to do with the zebra crossing, the one that was had nothing to do with the telephone kiosk, she was crossing from the other side of the street and didn't bother to look to see if the car was stopping, probably in a rush due to the heavy rain at the time (I was a witness btw) - to try and push blame onto the phonebox is completely disingenuous

    Reply

  • I have no name

    10/07/2018 - 11:11

    I think the answer is staring you in the face, look at the average age of the drivers....

    Reply

  • NoisyNortherner

    10/07/2018 - 09:09

    Could it be that Hungerford has a higher proportion of more elderly drivers? A significant proportion of the incidents highlighted above seem to involve older people.

    Reply