Anger as crossing plea rejected by councillors

crossingbj'Mitchell Mason with mum Leasa
crossingbj'Mitchell Mason with mum Leasa
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WORRIED Sheffield mum Leasa Ward whose son was run down by a car on a housing estate road fears the same accident could happen again – after her plea for a safe crossing were knocked back by councillors.

Mitchell Mason, aged 10, nearly died after being hit by a car at the junction of Harborough Avenue and Fretson Road, Manor in June this year.

But councillors and transport bosses at the East Community Assembly said that a crossing was not justified as accident rates at the site were not high enough and that other sites in the city were more deserving.

Leasa Ward, Mitchell’s mum, told The Star that without the crossing she fears the same thing will happen again involving a different family.

She added: “I don’t understand why they have decided against it. It’s on the school run and there’s a park nearby as well as a special needs centre.

“I’m just worried that it’s going to take a death before they decide to build a pedestrian crossing.”

The Community Assembly did agree on plans to build railings around the junction as well as dropped pavements to encourage pedestrians to cross at specific areas. Road safety education has also been introduced to schools, including Woodthorpe School, which Mitchell attended.

The assembly manager added that any other potential safety measures could be debated in the future.

But Leasa said: “I don’t know why they are spending money on railings. I know what kids are like, they will climb over and swing on them. It will make it even more dangerous.”

Coun Pat Midgley, who chairs the East Assembly, said: “We don’t have that money at the assembly to spend on the crossing. Projects like this are major projects that are determined city-wide by our cabinet highways committee.

“This is an accident that happened out of the blue. Never before was it a priority area. We have taken it as far as we can with the limited money we’ve got.

“But this isn’t the end of it. We will monitor the situation and continue talking to those involved.”

■ Sheffield Council’s cabinet highways committee has approved a scaled-down version of the Ecclesall Road Smart Route scheme to cut congestion.

It includes alterations to bus lanes and creation of extra traffic lanes for turning vehicles, to improve traffic flow.

However, original proposals to widen traffic lanes at Hunters Bar roundabout have been abandoned due to complaints about potential damage to the setting of the historic former toll bar on the island.

Councillors have asked for officers to investigate improving lighting in subways at Moore Street roundabout, as an addition to the scheme.

Further plans for peak hour parking restrictions outside Whiteways School, Grimesthorpe, to coincide with school arrival and departure times, were approved to reduce congestion and improve safety, which will be monitored for the next six months.