Rat-run drivers are ‘risking lives’

Les Swan standing opposite the demolished wall at his Lightfoot Crescent home
Les Swan standing opposite the demolished wall at his Lightfoot Crescent home

A PENSIONER says it is a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt after his normally quiet street has been turned into a rat run by rogue motorists.

Granddad Les Swan was shocked to return to his home in Lightfoot Crescent, in Hartlepool, to find a car had smashed into

his garden wall.

The pensioner says the roadworks, in nearby Easington Road, which have been causing traffic disruption to drivers for almost five weeks, has seen a huge increase in traffic speeding past his home.

He says the works have resulted in lorries, trucks, coaches and other traffic to use his street as a “rat-run” and 77-year-old Les has complained about the “potentially fatal” situation to Hartlepool Borough Council, saying his road should be shut off completely.

The council has erected a sign at Lightfoot Crescent saying the road is only to be used by residents living in the road. But this has fallen on deaf ears with drivers using it as a cut through.

Council chiefs have urged people to keep to the signs and police say they are also looking at the situation.

And Les returned home to find a man driving a small Ford car had crashed into his wall, also taking down his neighbour’s wall as well.

Les, who is married to Lesley, 69, said: “I’ve complained to the council lots of times since the work started because I don’t think it will be long before someone is killed.

“We had lorries and coaches and lots of traffic coming up and down here breaking the speed limit and someone will get hurt. I’m not saying the lad who knocked my wall down was speeding or anything, he’s a nice lad and his family has offered to rebuild the wall, which I’m very grateful for.

“I’m just saying the council should have our road shut off to traffic while all this work is going on to stop people coming up and down it as a cut through.”

Retired electrician Les, a step-dad-of-two and grandad-of-five, added: “Something has got to be done about it. A wall has been knocked down, we don’t want a person knocking down next.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “Following concerns expressed by residents, we contacted the police two weeks ago and asked them to monitor the speeds of vehicles travelling along Lightfoot Crescent and to enforce the 7.5 tonne weight restriction that is in force in this area.

“Following this latest incident in Lightfoot Crescent, we have again contacted police and asked them to continue monitoring vehicles using this road. We would urge all motorists to follow the signed diversions because these are the most appropriate routes for traffic.”

A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: “We were made aware earlier this month about the council’s concerns.

“Traffic officers have been notified of the issues and the area has been given some extra attention.

“Traffic management remains with the council, but we are happy to continue to work with them with a view to improving the situation.”

Diversions are expected to continue for another fortnight.