West Bank

Winster, Derbyshire

An accident waiting to happen?

 

Solutions?

What's being done to resolve the problems?

Quick answer: not a lot!

In April 2013 a meeting was arranged between concerned residents and:-
Derbyshire County Council - the then member for Highways who is also local County Councillor
Derbyshire Dales District Council - local Councillor
Winster Parish Council
A senior executive from the Peak Park Planning Board who unfortunately was on holiday at that time.

A 20 page A4 Report was specially produced at the personal expense of one resident
for circulation to members above and those local residents concerned. It included:-

A description of West Bank's difficult situation
Tabulated surveys of unlawful HGV activity between 2010 and March 2013
Maps and descriptions of the Weight Restricted areas
22 sample pictures of various HGVs breaking the Weight Restriction
Sample weather data 2007-2010 on winter conditions
7 sample pictures of accidents on West Bank in winter
Suggestions on how to relocate road signs and take additional measures to protect residents etc
Copies of letters between residents, Derbyshire Police and local MP Patrick McLoughlin (now Minister of Transport)

The impression was clear that several of the elected persons responsible for our welfare
had simply not bothered to read the Report. If not interested why did they attend the meeting?

This report can be download here. (PDF file)
It contains considerably more detail than can be shown on this website.

What happened Next?

The simple answer is

NOTHING
(of any consequence)

Reporting of HGVs continues as before and it is known that Trading Standards (whose remit it is)
are contacting offenders and issuing warnings. However, there do not appear to have been any prosecutions.

A replacement 3.5t road sign has been positioned at the bottom of West Bank but it cannot be seen clearly
by HGV's approaching from the Main Street.

Damage is still being caused to properties.

And now another winter approaches. Already some residents have been out hand-gritting parts of the hill as the Highways people had not done so.
There is no word from Derbyshire County Council on whether their gritting policy has been modified to include West Bank.

What do do?

There are two main problems:
1- The menace of unlawful HGV traffic, and
2 - Winter conditions.

Unlawful HGVs:
This is a year-round problem which some residents have been campaigning against since at least 1990.
Various suggestions have been made to Those In Charge, including:
Relocate and make clearly visible the traffic signs at the top and bottom of this hill.
Provide 'No Sat Nav' signs.


A sign like this would be very useful and not expensive.

A more expensive solution would be to construct an S- chicane at the top of the hill
similar to those used in other parts of the UK

Winter measures

Why is it only in the last two or three years this problem has been so bad?
Derbyshire County Council reduced the gritting priority for West Bank (due to a reduction in lorries?)
which has, in effect, been the source of the danger. It has been made clear many times
that such a move is a false economy and that the additional costs involved in protecting
local residents - the Duty of Care - are negligible.

If West Bank is still to have a low priority then:
The road should be closed until safe.
Ideally a properly constructed snow-gate should be installed rather than a temporary red notice
which is invariably moved aside my motorists who think they know better.


 

This (expensive) rather                      than this (useless).

 

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