Speed limit could be cut on road where tragic Hartlepool teen Rhys Hewitt died

The speed limit could be reduced on Brenda Road in Hartlepool, where tragic Rhys Hewitt was knocked down and killed.
The speed limit could be reduced on Brenda Road in Hartlepool, where tragic Rhys Hewitt was knocked down and killed.

The speed limit on a road where a teenager was tragically killed looks set to be cut in a bid to save lives.

Popular Rhys Hewitt, 14, died after he was hit by a car on Brenda Road, Hartlepool, just over a year ago.

Lower speeds generally result in a greater chance of pedestrians surviving when in collision

Alastair Smith, Hartlepool Borough Council

Now council chiefs are considering lowering the limit along the stretch where he died from 40mph to 30mph.

The proposal follows a review of the stretch between Belle Vue Way and the Teesbay Retail Park roundabout by Hartlepool Borough Council in response to Rhys’s death, on October 15 last year.

The council said while the driver of the car that struck Rhys and the condition of the road was not to blame for what happened, reducing the limit could save lives.

A report presented by Alastair Smith, assistant director for neighbourhoods, said: “The council supports The Department for Transport research which shows that lower speeds generally result in a greater chance of pedestrians surviving when in collision with a vehicle, and actively promote 20mph limits in the town.”

Councillors were due to agree the reduction at a meeting yesterday.

But they decided to defer making a decision after a plea to officers to investigate making the whole stretch of Brenda Road from the A689 to Seaton Lane 30mph.

Councillor Peter Jackson said: “I would rather see 30mph from the Golden Flatts roundabout all the way through into the town.

“I think that is more sensible because we are confusing drivers where we have got 40mph then 30mph limits.”

Mike Blair, technical services manager, said he felt reducing the limit from 50mph currently to 40mph would probably be more appropriate given the width of that part of Brenda Road.

He said officers would prepare a report and present the findings to a future meeting of the Neighbourhood Services Committee.

Chairman Coun Marjorie James said: “I would rather defer a decision pending additional information to see whether we can extend that [30mph limit] to Golden Flatts and have that bigger conversation before we agree it.”

The move, if accepted, is sure to be welcomed by Rhys’s family who previously urged the council take action after his death.

At an inquest in January to establish the cause and circumstances surrounding the road accident, Rhys’s dad Marty Hewitt said: “I personally think the speed limit should be reduced, especially in an urban area like this.

“We wouldn’t be sat here today if the speed limit was 30mph. It’s not safe because we have had a fatality.

“I don’t want it to happen again.”

On Saturday, a dug-out built at his old school English Martyrs was unveiled as a lasting memorial to the football-mad youngster.