Crossing to stay in place

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A CONTROVERSIAL crossing which has divided residents is to remain where it is.

The crossing in Blakelock Gardens will stay after councillors knocked back other options of removing it altogether or re-locating it elsewhere in the road.

Residents in favour say they are “delighted”, with one describing it as a “life-line” for her partially sighted husband.

Cash-strapped Hartlepool borough Council spent £40,000 on installing the crossing in March 2011 to improve safety.

But then former Mayor Stuart Drummond agreed to remove it – at a further cost of more than £10,000 – because of concerns from residents living close by that it was making the road more dangerous and that people were not using it.

It led to a further round of consultation after those who had campaigned for it voiced their concerns about it being removed. An overwhelming 72 per cent of people wanted it to remain and councillors on the neighbourhoods committee agreed, over concerns about the cost of removing it.

Joyce Espley, 67, of nearby Colenso Street, described the crossing as a “lifeline” for her husband, Lesley, 68, who is registered blind and uses the crossing to safely cross the road when visiting his grandchildren and shopping.

Mrs Espley said: “I am delighted with the decision.”

Blakelock Gardens resident John Brown had argued it to be relocated to where it was originally meant to be because he said more people would use it.

As well as retaining the crossing, it was also agreed to introduce parking controls including double yellow lines on one side to help ease parking congestion for residents. It was decided not to install pinch points or road humps over concerns from the fire brigade.

Alastair Smith, assistant director of neighbourhoods, said there was 105 responses from the consultation which found 17.14 per cent wanted the crossing removed completely, 72.38 per cent wanted it to remain and 10 per cent wanted the crossing relocating.

Removing it would have cost £12,000 while the re-location of the crossing and introduction of the left turn ban, would have cost £35,000.

The Central Neighbourhood Consultative Forum contributed £15,000 and the Town Centre Communities NAP Forum £10,000 to the cost of the crossing.