Angel Square needs new road markings to improve pedestrian safety, according to Dorset Councillor Derek Beer.
Derek told Shaftesbury Town Council that drivers don’t know who has priority outside the Post Office, where Coppice Street, Salisbury Street, The High Street and Angel Lane meet.
“There were worries about the aesthetics,” said Derek. “If you have paint on the road, it spoils the look of the town. But I think public safety is far more important. Just four triangles would warn vehicles that they need to stop and have a look before they go. They would make everyone’s life a lot better.”
Cllr Beer is worried that there’s an accident waiting to happen at Angel Square. “There are lots of near misses,” he said. “My wife witnesses those because she looks after a shop on the corner and she sees it day in, day out. I haven’t seen any bumps or scrapes but the public tell me that they don’t find it safe to cross there and they should do. It should be a shared surface and I get it from people all the time.”
The shared surface concept is designed to slow down vehicles and improve the safety of pedestrians when they are crossing the road. It’s popular in Europe but Derek doesn’t feel that Dorset drivers have embraced it. “What’s meant to happen is like on the Continent. People stop, look and give away in a gentlemanly fashion and it’s not happening very often.”
Derek says Shaftesbury could follow what’s been done elsewhere Dorset. “If you go to Blandford, their shared surfaces, which are supposed to be shared with the public and motor vehicles, have a triangle in front of them.”
Derek told Shaftesbury Town Council that a ‘pot of paint’ would solve the problem but he accepts that the work is not as straightforward as getting someone to mark the triangles on the road. “Rules and regulations about traffic management are quite strict,” said Derek. “I was told by one officer that you can’t have the markings because it’s not a road hump and yet we’ve got a sign that says it is a road hump. Someone else said that the Town Council objected. The latest I’ve had is that if the Town Council are behind it, then at least we might get somewhere.”
Dorset County Council says the removal of junction markings from Angel Square and other junctions in Shaftesbury was done as part of a scheme to improve vehicle movements and safety. “It has been viewed as a success,” said a DCC spokesperson.
They added that there are no plans to repaint the lines but, as they were removed several years ago, it would be appropriate to review it at this stage. The County Council says they will discuss the findings with Cllr Beer and the Town Council.
Town Clerk, Claire Commons, told ThisIsAlfred that she couldn’t recall Town councillors opposing these road markings.