1,100 locals press Greenwich Council to improve road safety

The petition was presented at last night's council meeting
The petition was presented at last night’s council meeting

Last night, residents who live near Little Heath, Charlton and Hillreach in Woolwich presented Greenwich Council with a 1,100-strong petition calling for traffic calming measures after a newsagent was killed when a car mounted the pavement outside his shop.

This stretch of road, heading out of Charlton towards Woolwich barracks, is a notorious spot for collisions, with three teenagers dying in a crash with an out-of-service bus in 2008. Neighbour Jane Lawson, who attended the council meeting, picks up the story.

Just three months ago our dearly loved local newsagent, Ash Patel, was killed outside his shop on Hillreach by a car which mounted the pavement. The local community were terribly distressed and angered by this and their distress was compounded by the knowledge that there have been dreadful fatalities in the recent past and innumerable RTAs which don’t get recorded on the official statistics.

This time we were determined to get the matter addressed. A core group of local residents, spear headed by Carrie Harman, and ably assisted in the wording by Matthew Pennycook (thanks to the speed of Twitter) drew up a petition asking for traffic calming measures.

For those who are not familiar with this locality, Hillreach is an enticing Big Dipper stretch of road which seems to impel a huge number of drivers to pretend they are Lewis Hamilton – the consequences have been deadly.

And so, over the last three months the petition has grown. Scores of volunteers have knocked on doors, neighbours have been proactive in returning to empty houses, those who shop at the newsagents have spread the word locally and by the end of October the petition had reached the total of over 1,100 signatures. The response on the doorsteps showed the frustration, anger fury and determination to get action. Without exception we heard accounts of accidents, near-misses and appalling driving.

Full Council was held on 5 November where the petition was formally presented by one of the Woolwich Riverside councillors. Sadly, the procedures do not allow petitioners to address the xouncil – had that been possible, they would have been very aware of the mood of the people.

We’ve been assured that the council wish to see average speed cameras installed and Matthew Pennycook and Nick Raynsford are writing to TfL to make sure they comply.

We shall be watching closely and we don’t intend to let this matter rest until this deadly stretch of road is made safer for those who live here.

To conclude, the council meeting was attended by Ash’s son, Samir Patel, who told us that in the midst of their grief, Ash’s two kidneys and his liver were donated so that others might live. That is part of his memorial. Let’s hope that the measures we have asked for will be the rest.