Make the A505 safer: Villagers’ views on the stretch between Royston and Baldock
- Credit: Archant
Throughout our campaign calling on Herts County Council to make the A505 safer, the Crow has found that the single most devisive issue on the stretch between Royston and Baldock is the cut-through junctions in the central reservations to cross the dual carriageway and access the villages.
The majority of crashes and near-misses stem from these junctions – the most notorious is the turning for Odsey.
It’s usually the busiest junction because here’s the mainline Ashwell & Morden railway station not far from the turning, and – upon leaving the hamlet – motorists can access to The Mordens, Ashwell and beyond.
Ginny Belson moved to the area in 2001, and lived in Guilden Morden before switching to Steeple Morden.
She said: “I don’t go right into Odsey on the A505. I go left when I’m going to Royston but I won’t go right – It’s not worth it.
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“I go through Bassingbourn and on the back roads to get home, and I don’t think I’m alone in that, cars just go too fast over the hill, there isn’t time to make a judgement and cross.
“The A505 is meant to be there to serve the area and bypass the villages, but it’s just making people take detours through them.”
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Sandon resident of 16 years Tony Searle said: “In our first week here we witnessed an horrific accident at the Odsey turn, it was terribly upsetting. It made me realise how dangerous all the cut-throughs were. That fear grew when my children became learner-drivers.
“It’s stressful enough as an experienced road-user to tackle the cut-throughs and slip roads – young, inexperienced or less-confident drivers must have nightmares over it.
“I said at the time to my wife that they should all be closed and replaced with one or two roundabouts. A couple of minutes extra driving versus hundreds of life-changing accidents, and deaths? I shudder to think what the count is since we moved here. How much tragedy is too much?”
Sarah Howard crosses the A505 daily to get to Litlington.
She said: “You always feel like you are taking your life into your hands pulling across the road as people drive so fast it’s hard to estimate the speed they are travelling.
“They really need to put speed restrictions in place as there have been too many accidents.”
Litlington’s Nicki Harris said: “It sometimes feels like you’re taking your life in your hands – and other people’s – when trying to cross the A505 in either direction.
“Also as a horse rider, I try to stay off the roads as much as possible however there are a couple of bridleways that lead up to the A505. With the amount and speed of traffic now on this road there is no way that I would try to cross it on horseback, which means that these bridleways are not being used as much as they could/should.”
Therfield’s Jim Bullard said: “It’s not the road that is at fault its careless drivers who do not pay attention to the traffic and how it flows.
“I will admit that on a couple of occasions I have come across elderly drivers who have become confused and I have had to stop them driving on the wrong side of the road.”
Jonathan Ayton, who has lived in Sandon for 22 years, said: “70mph is a good speed because if you decrease it to 50mph then you have got more cars closer together. You can’t close the crossings, they are an important route of access to the villages.”
Lisa Penn, also from Therfield, said: “I will do everything possible to ensure the cross overs remain open. In 2014 my three-day-old baby stopped breathing at home.
“The ambulance crew that arrived seemed to take forever and arrived just in time. Our baby is now three and doing absolutely fine. Now imagine if your baby, mother, or relative was laying helpless, relying on the emergency services that now need to go the long way round and tell me that it’s OK because, in that moment, it’s not.
“The outcome of closing the junctions is life or death for some, and even more so in Kelshall or Sandon where residents would have to wait even longer.”
To show your support for our campaign go to www.change.org/p/hertfordshire-county-council-make-the-a505-safer-between-royston-and-baldock to sign the petition.
You can also tweet or mention @roystoncrow on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #MakeTheA505Safer.
• See more villagers’ views in this week’s Crow, out Thursday.