Campaigners call for changes to section of A37 branded a 'death-trap'
Courtesy of the Dorset Echo
6:00am Thursday 4th June 2015
By Meghan Hindley
CAMPAIGNERS are calling for changes to a section of road that has been branded a ‘death-trap’.
Safety along the A37 – particularly at the Holywell Cross junction – has been highlighted as a major concern by residents after five fatalities in recent times.
Residents of Holywell and Evershot met at the junction with West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin and councillors to demonstrate the severity of the issue.
Louise Parker, a Holywell resident who is helping to drive the campaign forward, said: “We are trying to tackle three main issues; speed, signs and safety.
“The road is ridiculously fast.
“Drivers’ vision is obscured by the signs and cars are overtaking while other cars are trying to turn at the junction.”
Following the meeting Mr Letwin, West Dorset councillor Mary Penfold and Dorset county councillor Michael Bevan agreed to take the issue forward to Mike Harries, DCC’s director for environment and economy.
Mr Letwin said: “I can’t remember how many times I have stood at this junction and been told how dangerous it is. The junction is a death-trap and it’s time for something to be done about it.”
Cllr Michael Bevan said: “We are going to pounce on the council and get something done.”
As reported by the Echo, West Dorset woman Sheila Staples was killed at the Holywell Cross junction after the car she was travelling in collided with a coach last month.
Also last month, Louiza Covey, 25, from Bridport, and Steven Cook, 45, from Poole, were killed and four others were left fighting for their lives after a head-on collision on the A37 at Grimstone.
Both collisions are still being investigated.
In 2009, Beaminster couple Alastair and Sheila Flattely were killed when their car collided with a lorry at Holywell Cross. Lorry driver Peter Girton received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and was disqualified Girton from driving for four years.
Numerous non-fatal accidents have also occurred along the stretch of road over the years.
Wendy Wright, from Holywell, said: “We had a meeting last year and talked to the council about putting double white lines along this part but nothing's been done.
“There also used to be a slipway at the junction but now that part is just covered in grass and it’s a sharp turn.”
Rex Wright, also from Holywell said: “We think that the double white lines will really help the problem. We’ve had long discussions with the council and they did the side roads but not the A37.
“People shouldn’t be allowed to overtake in this area.
“Cars overtake you and drive on to the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic.”
Ms Parker said: “I am really please with how the meeting went. It’s looking hopeful but we will keep on going until something is done.”
Dorset County Council road safety officer Mike Potter said a double white line scheme at the Holywell Cross staggered junction was being investigated by the highways team.