Speed limit to be cut on Hartlepool road where schoolboy Rhys Hewitt was killed

The speed limit on a busy Hartlepool road where a teenager was tragically hit by a car and later died is to be cut to make it safer for pedestrians.

Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 7:12 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 9:51 am

Fourteen-year-old Rhys Hewitt died after he was struck by a car as he tried to cross Brenda Road, by the Stagecoach bus depot, in October 2014.

Council chiefs have decided to make the speed limit 30mph for Brenda Road between the A689 roundabout and Seaton Lane.

Brenda Road from Belle Vue Way.

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The stretch of road where Rhys was injured, between Belle Vue Way and the B&Q roundabout, is currently 40mph while the second section is 50mph.

Councillor Marjorie James, chairwoman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “I understand his parents’ requested we reduce Brenda Road to B&Q to 30mph, which we have done.

“We have also utilised that conversation to look at the wider aspects of safety in that location and have identified this [50mph] anomaly.

“We do feel it will make movement much easier to have the whole of the length 30mph.”

Brenda Road from Belle Vue Way.

At an inquest last year into the death of Rhys, who attended English Martyrs School, his family offered to work with the council to look at the road to make it safer.

Rhys’s dad Marty Hewitt said then: “I personally think the speed limit should be reduced, especially in an urban area like this.”

The inquest said the driver involved in the accident was not to blame. He was found to be travelling below the speed limit and there was no evidence that the road had contributed to the accident.

But a council report said the authority supports Department for Transport research, which shows that lower speeds generally result in a greater chance of pedestrians surviving following collisions with a vehicle.

A growth in the popularity of the Tees Bay Retail Park was another reason for the speed limit cut to make it easier for pedestrians visiting the area to cross.

A new crossing, at a location to be decided, will also be installed as part of the work.

Coun Steve Gibbon, who represents Fens and Rossmere, said: “Not everybody has a car and we need to make sure that busy road is made safe for the people walking from those estates down there.”

Coun Peter Jackson, for Headland and Harbour ward, added: “I think it’s the right thing to do and think it keeps people safe.”