Hartlepool drivers warned they could kill a child by ignoring new speed limits

Councillor Kelly Atkinson with daughters Jennifer, seven, and Louisa, nine.
Councillor Kelly Atkinson with daughters Jennifer, seven, and Louisa, nine.

New speed limits are being ignored by the town’s motorists.

Two months ago, after a lengthy campaign, the speed limit in residential streets around Seaton Carew was reduced from 30mph to 20mph.

However, householders say drivers are taking no notice of the new limits and they fear a child will be seriously injured or killed.

Coun Kelly Atkinson, said: “All it takes is for a child to run out after a ball or for an elderly person to be crossing the road and a car to come flying around the corner. They wouldn’t be able to get out of the way in time.”

The Seaton ward councillor, who herself lives in Bilsdale Road, said she has had complaints from families in Kildale Grove and Lingdale Drive as well as from her own neighbours.

She said she fully understands the concerns of parents because she is also very anxious about letting her own daughters, Louisa, nine, and seven-year-old Jennifer, out to play.

Coun Atkinson said: “I just want to encourage drivers to stick to the new limits, they just don’t seem to be taking any notice of them.

“The signs were put up a couple of months ago and they don’t seem to have made any difference. People shouldn’t be driving at those speeds in small streets.”

Over a year ago, Coun Atkinson, campaigned to get the speed limit reduced through Hartlepool Borough Council and said when it went to consultation the vast majority of householders were in favour of the reduction and the move went ahead.

She said: “We have noticed there are a lot more children playing out because of the summer.”

The councillor said most accidents involving child pedestrians happen in housing areas and she wants to prevent this from happening in the area.

She said: “Children are comfortable and feel safe near their own homes and they want to be out playing with their friends, running up and down the streets.

“We need to get across to drivers that they need to slow down in the area and take notice of the new speed limits.”