Residents call for safety measures on 'rat run' country road south of Lancaster after spate of accidents

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Residents living near a busy junction south of Lancaster are urging the county council to look at road calming measures in the wake of several accidents in the last month.

Duncan Stackhouse and his family have lived in Little Fell Lane for 14 years, in a row of houses close to the crossroads of Little Fell Lane, Blea Tarn Road, Hazelrigg Lane and Procter Moss Road.

He has witnessed several accidents along the route, particularly in recent weeks.

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In addition, one of their cats needed orthopaedic surgery costing £5,000 after being run over, and, just before Christmas, one of their nine-month-old kittens was killed.

Richard Brigg took this photo after a recent accident at the junction.Richard Brigg took this photo after a recent accident at the junction.
Richard Brigg took this photo after a recent accident at the junction.

"I am convinced that the reason for the volume of traffic, particularly at peak hours, is people travelling from the Lune Valley to Lancaster University,” he said. “It is an absolute rat run.

"I walk my dog every morning along the road outside my house, and have taken to filming motorists' behaviour on a bodycam, for fear of being injured.

"The junction opposite our house has a 'slow' sign but people take absolutely no notice.

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"People are driving with no headlights on and at speed and too close to you, on a road with no pavements."

The approach to the junction and its 'Give Way' signs.The approach to the junction and its 'Give Way' signs.
The approach to the junction and its 'Give Way' signs.

Mr Stackhouse said the week before Christmas saw two accidents in as many days at the junction - and a further three or four in January.

"This is only likely to become worse with the continued development of the university, Bailrigg Garden Village, etc.” he said.

"We have tried to involve Lancashire police but their response was that, because the road is subject to the national speed limit, they are powerless.

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"It's a 60mph road but just because it's the national speed limit, it doesn't mean it's safe to drive at that speed.

One of the 'Give Way' signs was recently hit in a collision.One of the 'Give Way' signs was recently hit in a collision.
One of the 'Give Way' signs was recently hit in a collision.

"The starting point has got to be lowering the speed limit and enforcing it. It's a rural road and the speed is a real issue."

Nigel Hodgson, who owns Hodgsons Chippy in Lancaster, also lives in the area.

After one recent accident, Nigel's son helped two passengers in their 90s and took them to hospital as an ambulance was not immediately available.

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"The signage is poor and not very visible during dusk, darkness or misty conditions," he said.

The damaged 'Give Way' sign after a recent accident.The damaged 'Give Way' sign after a recent accident.
The damaged 'Give Way' sign after a recent accident.

"Both Little Fell Lane and Hazelrigg Lane are long straight roads where drivers speed and become dangerous when they approach the junction of Blea Tarn Road and Procter Moss Road as the signage is not very visible and on the doorstep to the junction.

"These roads are often used to bypass the A6 into Lancaster as this road is usually heavy with traffic.

"The signage could be much better, especially if there were more signs introduced to warn drivers of the approaching junction."

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Nigel added that some of the signage was damaged during one of the accidents in December. The collisuion between two cars left one on its roof.

"Maybe a 'stop' sign would be better suited, rather than the existing 'give way' signs," he said.

Another resident, Richard Brigg, witnessed a collision at the junction last week.

A damaged street sign after a collision.A damaged street sign after a collision.
A damaged street sign after a collision.

"That’s by my memory the fifth in two months, two of which required emergency services responses," he said.

"It’s turning into an accident black spot."

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Other motorists have recently posted their concerns on Facebook.

Lyndsay Russell said: "Little Fell Lane is used as a race track! Sundays are especially horrendous for it.

"The speed cars get to literally 300 yards down the road after crossing the crossroads, while driving over a slow sign, is ridiculous.

"It needs 'stop' signs, not 'give way'.

"Once the new motorway junction goes in at bottom end of Hazelrigg Lane, it will be even busier as a rat run for the top of Hala/Bowerham."

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Paul Jones added: "We’ve nearly been hit heading away from Animal Care towards Bay Horse Road, a car shot across without giving way, how it missed us we’ll never know.

"Many are now using this as a rat run to avoid the traffic around Booths on the A6; somebody will be killed soon.

"Trouble is as both directions are national speed limit roads, any impact is high speed. The 'give way' signs keep getting taken out, so more accidents happen before fresh signs are popped up."

County Coun Matthew Maxwell-Scott said he'd asked Highways officers to look into the issues and report back recommendations.

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"I know the junction well and agree that it’s not as safe as I would like it to be," he said.

Lancaster MP Cat Smith said she has also been contacted by residents.

“I am seriously concerned about the safety of this junction which I also use regularly," she said.

"There has been a recent increase in collisions and I worry that unless something changes very soon we might see a very serious one.

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"I am urging the county council to look again at what could be done to make this junction safer for all road users including walkers, runners and cyclists who are particularly vulnerable.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "We would urge drivers to always be careful and take notice of the signs posted at the many remote rural road junctions we have throughout Lancashire .

"The ‘give way’ and priority junction signs at this location are mounted on yellow backing boards to increase their visibility on all approaches, and exceed the requirement of highway regulations.

"Improving safety on our roads is a priority and we sympathise with the concerns which residents have raised - we are considering options to improve the signs and road markings in consultation with the police alongside our other priorities."