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                      What's going on in't Brig?


The 'wing and a prayer' junction! (See Newsflash at end of this article)
Actually we're talking about the junction at Brindle Road and Withy Trees Avenue. So why then has it acquired this rather unflattering name? Well if you have ever been in the unfortunate position of attempting to turn into Brindle Road from the Avenue, then perhaps you will realize just how apt the name really is.                                                                                Due to the sweep of Brindle Road in both directions, the driver's view is partially 'blind' and making the decision to pull out is similar to a game of Russian Roulette. The number of collisions and 'near misses' is growing daily due to the increased traffic on Brindle Road, which is only worsening due to the 500+ houses that are currently under construction on land adjacent to Brindle Road.                                                                                                              If the situation is this critical then you would be forgiven for asking as to why is nothing being done to make this junction safer? It's certainly not for the want of trying by a number of concerned residents and road users, including us at the BBB who have highlighted the issue on more than one occasion to Lancashire CC, who are responsible for highway safety.                                                                                                                                                There is no shortage of ideas for improving the safety at this junction. These include the construction of a mini roundabout, the addition of 'speed bumps' or 'sleeping policemen' at both approaches to the junction, the siting of mirrors opposite the avenue to give drivers a clearer view in both directions, erecting speed cameras, traffic lights and even the rather drastic suggestion of not allowing traffic to exit from the avenue onto Brindle Road.                 Some time ago, local LCC Councillor Jim Marsh raised the issue with the Highways Department. Despite his best efforts the problem appears to have been kicked into the 'long grass' as nothing happened to improve the situation. Cynics believe that they are probably waiting for a fatality to occur before any action is taken. However we at the BBB do not subscribe to this train of thought and the problem has again reared its ugly head when our editor recently witnessed three incidents within a few days where collisions appeared inevitable and were avoided only by good fortune. He himself was involved in one of these near collisions and has vowed not to attempt to use the junction again until some action has been taken by the LCC?                                                                                                                        To this end, he has contacted LCC Cllr Barrie Yates regarding this issue. Cllr Yates was quick off the mark and has written to the relevent department outlining the problem. We can only hope that this time something positive will happen before the inevitable happens.            There was a recent Facebook post on the 'Be proud to be a Brigger' site with regards to this issue and it is evident from the responses that the resolution to the problem is high on the agenda of most local residents, many of whom, like our editor, have vowed not to use this junction until it is made safer for all concerned.                                                                           Any action or non-action from LCC will be reported on a monthly basis on this page.

Newsflash 1

 At last a breakthrough! Thanks to the joint efforts of LCC's Cllr Barrie Yates and Jeff Couperthwaite, the department in charge of road safety have now agreed that there is a sight line problem at the junction and requires a thorough investigation in order to decide what action is required to make it safer. Watch this page for updates on progress made.

Newsflash 2

It took 10 years for the authorities to recognize that there was a problem at this junction. Let's hope that it dosn't take as long to make it safer. The concensus of opinion from regular users of this junction is that a mini roundabout, though not perfect, is the best solution. It has been said by the authorities that the carriageway is not wide enough for this. We find this statement baffling as there are mini roundabouts on carriageways in the SRBC area that are as narrow or even narrower. A typical example is the one situated at the junction of Coote Lane and Charnock Moss in Lostock Hall, which is in a much smaller space.

Newsflash 3

And still it continues! Despite the safety issue being recognized by the appropriate authority, with the assurance that action will be taken to make it safer, residents adjacent to the junction still endure the regular squealing of hastily applied brakes and the blare of horns when another near miss occurs. We can only hope that the residents' suggestion of a mini roundabout is receiving serious consideration and that perhaps someone has checked that there are mini roundabouts in the South Ribble district in areas as small as at this particular junction. There are a number of local and county council members on our mailing list and we at the BBB, and our many readers in particular, would welcome an update from the appropriate authority - Or are you waiting for the inevitable accident to happen first?
Any feedback from the relevant authority that we could print would be greatly appreciated.

           We Told Them So - But Did Anyone Listen - Part 2!
















Strong objections were raised by local residents when the plans for large housing developments by Persimmon and Bellway off Brindle Road in Bamber Bridge were first proposed,
However, this was not just another example of ‘nimbyism’ by the concerned residents. Many had experienced the growing strip developments along and off this once country road, noting the increase in volume and speed of traffic and congestion at the Hospital Inn level crossings as the building continued. They concluded correctly that this would only be made a far bigger problem if these two massive developments were granted permission to build.
Surveys by the so-called experts concluded that this was a gross exaggeration and that any increase in volume and speed of vehicular traffic along Brindle Road and increased congestion at the level crossing would be minimal. It is somewhat meaningless to now point out that the traffic surveys were conducted on relatively quiet days and times.
It now appears that the ‘chickens have come home to roost’. Now that these housing developments are in full swing, the traffic issues raised are becoming self-evident. The photo above shows a typical morning queue along Brindle Road when the level crossing barriers are down. As the house building continues, the daily morning queue grows longer and longer. Our editor endures this problem every working day of the week and reports that recently the traffic queue went all the way back to the motorway bridge; a good half-mile from the actual level crossing. A rather stupid comment was made by one irate motorist who suggested that the problem would be cured by a permanent closing to vehicular traffic where Brindle Road crosses the railway line. However, as our editor sat in his car for 20 minutes without hardly moving, he began to wonder if it really was such a stupid suggestion.

Another local resident has pointed out that the new conurbation created by these twin developments in the Brindle Road area should warrant the area having its own village status. If this was granted then I believe ‘HIGHER GRIDLOCK’ would be most appropriate.

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Reviving the Community Spirit in Bamber Bridge

 








                  Knit & Natter                                                         Bridge Club                                                   Domino Drive

Well it does appear that at long last we are slowly getting back to our normal day to day living after the Covid crisis. However, will ‘normal’ ever be quite the same again? Lockdown may have caused some of us to lose sight of the community spirit and activities that we once enjoyed and perhaps may be somewhat nervous or reluctant to partake in such pursuits again.
One man who is very much aware that such a situation could exist is local man Martin Topping. Martin has run dancing sessions at the Carr Street Community Centre for a number of years. These will no doubt continue to the delight of those who love tripping the light fantastic. However, now that Martin is running the Centre he is very much aware that the introduction of other activities could entice, particularly the older residents, to join in other communal activities.
A number of possible ventures have been suggested such as ‘Knit and Natter’, a bridge club, a domino drive or even mental health sessions. Martin is therefore offering the use of the Community Centre on Mondays and Tuesdays and would welcome people with ideas and the drive for staging such community activities. This is an ideal opportunity for people who would love to be ‘hands on’ in running events but previously had no venue in which to hold them.
If you are that person or know of anyone with these desires for getting our community working again then why not contact Martin on 07794982116 or by email on mtopping6@icloud.com
Martin is hoping that if there appears to be an interest in such community activities then help, including financial assistance, may be available from the local council who he believes are open to and would welcome ideas that would enhance the community spirit here in Bamber Bridge.

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Proposed new bridge gets the council 'Nod'

Latest news from SRBC chambers is that at last the proposed Foot Bridge is to be erected over the railway line at Asland and Bleasdale Close to Withy Grove Park, making a safe crossing to the park. Surrounding Properties will be will be screened by existing trees and extra screening is planned to protect residents privacy.
















                                                     What the proposed bridge could look like


Although a bridge will be welcomed as a safe crossing for the majority of users, a local resident has expressed concerns that its design may not cater for prams, wheelchairs or people with mobility issues. We put this point to a local councillor who responded;
"This bridge is the property of Northern Rail and was the only option that came as a planning application for the council to consider.
When considering the application the planning committee asked would it be possible to include a lift as the design was not wheel chair friendly.
Seeing the application could not be changed the committee asked Northern Rail that they look at including a lift.
The old crossing was very dangerous for anyone using it.
With this in mind the planning committee passed the application and asked Northern Rail to consider adding a lift."

The resident who expressed the initial design concern responded;                                              "Are SRBC, the local authority that says it is improving conditions for disabled people, seriously considering approving a bridge that not only discriminates against people with mobility problems, but it also causes problems for mother with prams. Should this not be a ramped bridge suitable for ALL? We don't seem to be embracing the modern 21st century approach of 'Improvements for All Not just the few.'  When people start complaining, as they undoubtedly will, and they are then forced to take corrective action, they will have wasted more time and money. Come on SRBC;  you pride yourseves by announcing that this a great place to live work and play - or have you forgotten to add, only if you are fit and well?' 

We at the BBB believe that the ball is now firmly back in SRBC's court!

Newsflash 1

Well the issue of the bridge appears to have ruffled a few feathers down at SRBC. Our latest information is that the proposed bridge is owned by Northern Rail and as they only submitted one design, inadequate though it might be, it was adjudged to be an improvement on the current arrangement for crossing the railway lines and as such the SRBC Planning Committee had little choice but to approve it as although design issues were raised, there were no official objections raised at this time.
However, we have also been informed that if the councillors who represent this area of Bamber Bridge had been present when the decision was made and there to register their objections to the design, then the outcome may have been different.
If the councillors were aware of the unacceptable bridge design, then surely they had a duty towards their constituents to be present at the appropriate meetings in order to register their disapproval. Perhaps it would be worthwhile for disgruntled residents to approach the councillors concerned to enquire as to why they were not in attendance at the meetings?
We do not of course know the reason for the absence of the councillors at the meetings and can only suggest that if the residents who they represent are unhappy with this apparent lack of interest on an important issue such as this, then they have a golden opportunity of redressing the situation through the ballot box on May 2nd.  

Since this story was printed in the local newspaper, it has provoked many more negative reactions from local users. The concensus of opinion appears to be, why was there no public consultation and why change a crossing that suits all classes for one that will only have limited use? The answer appears to lie in the hands of the Health & Safety Executive who apparently have advised all rail companies to consider the removal of all ungated crossings and replace them with bridges. However, the standard design of these bridges does not allow for universal usage! Sounds like a chapter from Joseph Heller's book Catch 22.

Newsflash 2
Local resident, Martin Topping has this to say about the bridge design:-                               'With reference to the bridge over the railway line. I noticed that SRBC have said that no objections have been raised to the design submitted by British Rail. This is not true!  I for one raised an objection as I believed that the bridge was only suitable for people that were fit enough to walk and that includes up and down the many steps, I also pointed out that as a council that prides itself on being disability friendly, the bridge was a poor design with complete disregard for the elderly, disabled persons and ladies with prams and/or younger children. So guess what? They come up with the same old lame excuses as to why the matter was out of their hands.                                                                                                           One solution in my view is simply to shut down the railway. OK, that’s with tongue in cheek as we know that this is impossible. However, what is not impossible is simply to throw the current design out and come up with a design that works for all users, not just the fit and healthy. It’s British Rail that has the problem although SRBC do not appear to be contesting the design as vigorously as they should and in my opinion they need to grow a pair! 
Another solution, despite the Health & Safety Executive, who apparently have advised all rail companies to consider the removal of all ungated crossings and replace them with bridges, is to erect automatic barriers on the site. After all, they can’t say it’s unsafe because the very same system is in use 200 yards down the line at ‘suicide corner’. 


Well! Do you agree with Martin's comments?