Plans for a petrol station and convenience store on the corner of Bromfield Road and Coronation Avenue will be considered by Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee next Tuesday (10 March). I will be telling the committee that I think the plans are too dangerous to approve without revisions.
I have a number of concerns. My main concern is for the safety of pupils going to and from Ludlow School. I still have doubts about the location of the petrol tanks which will be partly below ground. I worry that leakage can only be detected after it has happened by which time it have seeped into watercourses.
In this post, I only consider pedestrian safety.
More than 200 school pupils pass by this site every school day morning and evening on their way to Ludlow School. On the afternoon of 3 March, we conducted a survey of ‘pupil flow’. The first youngsters approached the zebra crossing outside Ludlow Motors at 3.41pm and the tide had passed by 3.39pm. In less than ten minutes, we counted more than 200 children passing the Bromfield Road and Coronation Avenue junction.
It is pretty obvious that a number of the children will regard the new store as a tuck shop on their way in and out of school. That’s no problem except there is no safe crossing proposed to the “tuck shop”.
Coming from the south, Coronation Avenue is a fast road where too many people are unfortunately tempted to put their foot down. We see a similar pattern on Bromfield Road, where traffic coming from the north speeds up after the 20mph zone and speed humps. More than half of those vehicles sweep around the corner towards Corve Bridge.
We are expecting children to cross safely in this situation. That won’t work. The sight lines don’t work. It doesn’t help that there is always a clutter of HGVs, vans and cars along Bromfield Road towards Corve Bridge. There are no plans for staff car parking at this scheme. Many workers will park along Bromfield Road. This is a planning proposal that is blind to the needs of pedestrians.
Children are not that good at judging traffic speeds when half asleep in the morning or when buzzing with excitement as they pile out of school.
Shropshire Council planners are suggesting that railings might be installed around the Bromfield Road corner “to guide pedestrians to the most appropriate crossing point.” This won’t work on its own. The barrier can’t be extended across the entrance to Jones’ goods yard, so some children will be tempted to cross at that point.
I am convinced we need a lights controlled pedestrian crossing across Bromfield Road to the convenience store. This should be located at Danger Point 1 on the map above. A Pelican Crossing will draw children to a place where they know they can cross safely. In my view this is the best possible option.
At Danger Point 2 on Coronation Avenue, we need to monitor pedestrian traffic. If there are a significant number of people crossing here, we will need to consider a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the road. As the new development will involve works on Coronation Avenue anyway, it would be best to put in a pedestrian refuge at the outset.
What we must avoid is a repeat of what happened at Harry Tuffins at Foldgate (it’s now the Co-op). That store and petrol station was put in without safe crossings on Sheet Road and Foldgate Lane. Because the crossings were installed after the site was developed, we ended up with a compromise location for the Zebra crossing on Foldgate Lane. I use this crossing daily and it can be hair-raising. I have lost track of the number of times traffic has sailed over the crossing without noticing that it’s there or I am trying to cross.
The Bromfield Road store is likely to create greater dangers than Harry Tuffins because it involves schoolchildren, and simultaneous peak flows of pedestrians and vehicles. We could see 350 new homes built within half a mile of this store in the next few years. That will inevitably increase traffic.
On this occasion, we have a chance to get pedestrian crossings right before the store opens. I will be urging the South Planning Committee not to miss that opportunity on Tuesday.
. We didn’t count the cars but it was notable that there was an almost continuous flow of cars southwards from the direction of the school between 3.40pm and 3.50pm, many turning left towards Corve Bridge. The Transport Assessment for the development only examines traffic flows along Coronation Avenue so is not particularly useful for this commentary.
. The 85th percentile speed of traffic on Coronation Avenue is 38 mph. So, only 15% of traffic goes above 38 miles an hour, but that’s a still a lot of traffic speeding in a 30mph zone.
. Planning permission has already been awarded for 94 homes on the old brickworks site on Fishmore Road. An application is being processed for 20 homes on the adjacent former Whittle bus depot. A further 20 homes are proposed at Shropshire Building Supplies. An appeal for 215 houses at the top of Bromfield Road off the A49 is due to be heard at a public inquiry. That means we might see up to 350 new houses built within half a mile of the store.
. I am a member of the South Planning Committee. As the development is in my electoral division, I can’t vote on this planning application. I will brief the committee on my views before withdrawing. The planning committee will be visiting the site at 10.25am, Tuesday 10 March.