Safety issues on Houghton Regis road need 'urgent' attention say councillors

MP Andrew Selous visits Bedford Road after being contacted by a concerned constituentMP Andrew Selous visits Bedford Road after being contacted by a concerned constituent
MP Andrew Selous visits Bedford Road after being contacted by a concerned constituent
Councillor says she is “inundated with calls and emails” about incidents along Bedford Road

Safety issues need to be addressed on a narrow road in a Bedfordshire town with “the utmost urgency”, a meeting was warned.

Previous plans to address some of the problems along Bedford Road in Houghton Regis have failed to materialise, a Central Bedfordshire Council meeting heard.

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Liberal Democrat Houghton Regis West councillor Susan Goodchild admitted to being “inundated with calls and emails” about incidents along this route, and called for a clear action plan and timeline to improve safety.

Independent Sandy councillor and executive member for highways Simon Ford said: “Gathering traffic data is key to help understand and review those concerns.

“Traffic data was to be collected in November over a seven-day period, which we anticipate will be examined in the early part of this year. This can be considered alongside the latest accident data to the end of last year.

“Once highways officers have considered and provided feedback on the data, further talks can be held.”

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Independent Houghton Regis East councillor Pat Hamill described Bedford Road as having 13 junctions in a short distance, and “because it’s a narrow road” footpaths can’t be widened.

“We’ve had so many changes of highways senior officers in a four-year period, we seem to go back to square one.

“We’ve one 30mph sign from the M1/A5 link. That’s forgotten by the time drivers turn into Bedford Road, where the speed picks up.

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“We need action now and that road made safe, as we’ve been requesting this for up to five years.

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“It’s arranged to walk along the road with a planning officer. It’s a dangerous route to walk, as there are hardly any footpaths in part of that road.

“I urge highways to forget their survey and get it moving to make it as safe as it can be for our residents.”

Conservative Dunstable West councillor Nigel Young warned: “I’ve been involved in countless meetings with highways and planning officers over the state of Bedford Road, and the situation just keeps getting worse.

“It’s an absolute disgrace with HGVs thundering down and straight on to the link road to access the M1. Children have to walk up this road to get to school.

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“Highways officer after highways officer has let the residents of Houghton Regis down and something needs to be done about this with the utmost urgency.”

Green Party Ampthill councillor Susan Clinch told the council the data never includes “resident experience”, which she suggested it should do.

Liberal Democrat Houghton Regis West councillor Yvonne Farrell said: “It’s just a lane and has been for years. It’s now a racetrack and an accident about to happen.”

Councillors agreed the motion, which includes a call for an urgent meeting with CBC councillors representing Houghton Regis West and East wards, and representatives of Houghton Regis Town Council.

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Earlier this month MP Andrew Selous visited the road after being contacted by a constituent.

He said: “There are two road crossings close to blind bends which are scary, particularly as a large number of vehicles were clearly travelling well in excess of 30 miles an hour. There is also an absence of speed limit signs and we clearly need much better speed enforcement to make it safe for pedestrians."