Rat run 'puts lives at risk'

CELIA WIGG Lives are being put at risk by thoughtless motorists who have turned a residential street into a rat run to avoid traffic queues on the A140, a paramedic warned last night.

CELIA WIGG

Lives are being put at risk by thoughtless motorists who have turned a residential street into a rat run to avoid traffic queues on the A140, a paramedic warned last night.

Paramedic Steve Lansdell lives at St Michael's Road, Long Stratton. It is designated an access-only route for residents, and has a 20mph limit.

But Mr Lansdell says the traffic law is being broken every weekday by motorists who use the road as a short cut. And he claims that South Norfolk Council employees, travelling to and from work at neighbouring Swan Lane, are among the worst offenders.

"I walk my children to school and I really fear for their safety, not only because of the volume of traffic but the excessive speed and dangerous driving of these people hurrying to and from wherever they are going. I am a paramedic of 20 years' standing and, in my professional opinion, these speeds are at least double (the speed limit) by over 50pc of illegal traffic in the road - and some exceed this many times," he said.

"The local council are probably the biggest offenders. Many of the staff race through the road everyday on the way to South Norfolk House."

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Mr Lansdell has notified the police on numerous occasions. He added: "They hardly ever have a police presence in the road, and if they do it is never at the main times in morning and afternoon during a weekday."

The shortcut is used because the A140 becomes gridlocked at peak times as tailbacks build up at traffic lights.

Police spokesman, Sgt Steve Thompson, said: "This has been a concern for some time now and measures have been taken to tackle this problem.

"A report has been completed by the community safety team and the issue is due to be discussed at a multi-agency meeting on Monday. We are continuing to work in partnership with the anti-social behaviour department at South Norfolk Council and measures are being considered into tackling this problem and identifying offenders."

Officers are deployed to deal with anti-social behaviour and nuisance drivers and will target troublemakers.

Peter Smith, district councillor for Long Stratton, said he will ask for notices to be put in the authority's headquarters, reminding workers not to use St Michael's Road.

"It is quite true that employees use the road to avoid waiting. It's a very quick shoot through to the offices, although we all know strictly speaking it's against the law. But the majority of people in Long Stratton say they pay their taxes and ask why shouldn't they use it," he said.

"There is one way to solve the problem, which I and the parish council have suggested, and that is to close the road in the middle to stop it being used as a cut through. If the people of St Michael's want it closed, I will get the ball rolling."