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Calls for another safety review at junction with North Street and Somerset Road in Ashford

By Charlie Harman

There are calls for another safety review of a road crossing in Ashford where three pedestrians have been hit by cars in recent months.

In one of the latest accidents, police were called to the junction with North Street and Somerset Road after a teenage boy was struck by a Ford Fiesta.

Last month, a woman was taken to hospital after being hit by a car at the junction - weeks after a pensioner suffered a head injury at the same spot.

Emergency crews at the scene last week after the boy was hit
Emergency crews at the scene last week after the boy was hit

Kent County Council spent thousands redesigning the crossing in 2016, but residents say more needs to be done following the recent incidents.

Val Smith, from Quantock Drive, says bosses need to reassess the ring road junction.

“The crossing does leave a lot to be desired,” she said.

“It’s not quite clear when you can cross.”

A man was taken to hospital after being hit by a car in January
A man was taken to hospital after being hit by a car in January

James Bowden, from Canterbury Road, agreed, saying motorists regularly jump the lights: “Drivers go flying through - a red light used to mean stop but now it just means go on.

"They need to enforce the yellow boxes.

"Traffic just gets queued up in box junctions.”

The junction before it was redesigned
The junction before it was redesigned

Other town centre shoppers believe pedestrians crossing the road need to be more responsible.

Kennington resident Oliver Cook said: “It is quite dodgy sometimes, but you just need to wait for the lights to turn.”

Rosie Elkington-Brown, from South Ashford, supported Mr Cook’s view, saying: “I don’t see what else could be done.

“As long as people are using the lights properly it should be safe.”

This opinion is shared by Kent County Council, which highlighted the extensive upgrade work carried out on the junction three years ago.

A spokesman said: “We are concerned to hear a boy was injured on Somerset Road last week and we wish him a full and swift recovery.

“A safety scheme to improve the layout of signal junctions at Somerset Road took place in 2016.

The roadworks in 2016 sparked delays in the town
The roadworks in 2016 sparked delays in the town

“As part of these works, we staggered the crossing points and installed push buttons on the central reservations.

“We do not believe the crossing to be inherently dangerous.

“Pedestrians previously had to cross both sides of the road and could become 'stranded' on the central reservation.

“The new design allows pedestrians to push buttons either side of the road, as well as the central reservation, and indicates when it is safe to cross.

“KCC is unable to enforce yellow box junctions as the legislation has not been enacted by the government.

“Under part six of the Traffic Management Act, the government can give councils the power to issue fines for offences such as such as stopping in yellow boxes.

“While police have powers to deal with contraventions, local authorities do not.”

It is not known how old the boy who was hit last week was, but a police spokesman said he was of secondary school age.

He was taken to the William Harvey Hospital with a leg injury.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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