Samantha: Support for safety campaign

The campaign for safety improvements to a Lowestoft road where a six-year-old girl lost her life received a boost as highways officials confirmed the launch of a study into a signal crossing.

The campaign for safety improvements to a Lowestoft road where a six-year-old girl lost her life received a boost as highways officials confirmed the launch of a study into a signal crossing.

Samantha Castledine was killed on a busy stretch of the A12 as she travelled to school on March 25.

Her death sparked a massive public campaign for a new crossing on the major trunk road, spearheaded by Waveney MP Bob Blizzard who met with the Highways Agency in June to hand over a petition for a new crossing at the site.

Officials initially dampened hopes by citing a falling trend of accidents on the road, but Mr Blizzard revealed yesterday that he had received a letter saying a feasibility study was under way.

It also emerged that Samantha's former classmates had added weight to the campaign by providing their own memories of accidents on the road, which were not part of the original report.

The Agency conceded figures and dates given to Mr Blizzard by Gunton Primary School pupils were not part of their records for the site.

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In the letter, the agency's eastern area manager, Peter Smith, says: “We will consider the information you have provided, along with the recorded accident history.”

“I can confirm that a study has been initiated to identify the feasibility of a signalised crossing.”

Samantha was killed close to the junction of Hollingsworth Road when she was struck by a lorry while waiting with her bike on the central reservation.

Mr Blizzard said: “The whole idea of asking children to stand in this pen in the middle of the road is just awful.

“You can produce figures saying the accident trend is going down, but this accident has changed everything.

“I am even more firmly convinced that we need traffic lights. Meanwhile, I think that when the schools go back in September we are going to need two lollipop people to stop both lanes of traffic.”

Samantha's elder sister, Jo Woolnough, said: “Anything they are going to do will be positive. I just don't want any other family to go through what we have been through in the last six months.

“I think all schools, especially primary schools, should have a crossing outside them. We'd pay for it ourselves if we could.”

“We should not have to rely on lollipop ladies, they can't cover both sides of the road.”

The Highways Agency, which is responsible for maintaining the country's major trunk roads, said the £10,000 study was expected to be completed by the end of September, but no recommendations would be made until after the inquest into Samantha's death.

A spokesman said: “We are expecting the coroner's report in late September or early October, and we will make decisions based on that, and the guidance from the police.”

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