Campaign for a pedestrian crossing on Dereham Road roundabout, Norwich, gathers 600 signatures

A campaign to improve safety at a Norwich roundabout is attracting mass support, seven years after a schoolgirl first called for a pedestrian crossing to be built so she could walk to class safely.

Megan Smith, from Hellesdon Road, was just nine years old when she launched a campaign so she and her friends could cross the roundabout at Dereham Road and Guardian Road, in west Norwich, to get to Wensum Middle School.

Seven years later, there have been 22 accidents at the junction causing injuries - and no progress to make it safer. Now 600 people living near the roundabout have signed a petition calling for action.

A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council, which is reponsible for pedestrian crossings in the city, said it worked with the county council to fund road projects, but had to work with finite budgets.

Megan, 16, said: 'It is still hard to cross. I think it would be good for a crossing just to make it safer. It is quite dangerous.'


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Her brother Darcy, nine, now crosses the roundabout each day to get to school as she used to.

Megan's mother Rachel said: 'My parents live the other side of the roundabout and it has always divided our family.

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'Even now my dad still hates me walking to work because he hates that junction.

'There are no spaces and cars come very fast. It impacts on the life of the whole community of the area.

'We should be able to walk into the city, joggers should be able to run, children should be able to walk to school.'

Hazell Fyfe's son Harry Ryder, 10, was knocked off his bike at the roundabout in 2010 when he was on his way home for tea.

She said: 'He was bruised and battered on knees and elbows.

'His sister and he have to double the length of their walk to school at Wensum Middle every morning so as to avoid crossing at the roundabout.'

Cyclist Shirley-Jane Sillett, 59, of Lusher Rise, was hurt in an accident at the roundabout in 2007.

She said: 'I ripped all the ligaments in my shoulder, and had to have an operation, and have been left permanently disabled.'

The grandmother-of-four had to leave her job as a school cook and can no longer user her right arm after the ligaments broke.

Dereham Road resident and Green Party candidate for Wensum ward Neil Blunt has been collecting signatures for the petition and said there had been a huge response.

He told the Evening News: 'There are families that drive just minutes to get to school because they daren't risk crossing on foot.

Green Party councillor for Wensum ward Lucy Galvin added: 'This has dragged on too long.

'The junction needs upgrading and the needs of local people must be taken into account.'

Norfolk County Council said the city council was responsible for new pedestrian crossings in the city.

A spokeswoman for the city council said: 'The development and improvements have to be made within finite budgets and on a priority basis, making sure those that will have the most significant impact are delivered first.

'Both councils will continue to work together, as always, to develop schemes that improve the roads for all users such as the Better Bus and Bus Rapid Transit programmes that are bringing wide-reaching benefits.'

Are you fighting for road safety improvements in your community? Call reporter Tom Bristow on 01603 772313 or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk

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