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Removing barriers could cost lives

Safety barriers
Safety barriers

by Graham Tutthill


A councillor is warning that people could be seriously injured or even killed if pedestrian safety barriers are removed from Dover town centre.

Plans have been revealed to scrap more than 600 barrier sections throughout the town.

A report drawn up by contractors Jacobs, on behalf of Kent Highway Services, follows an assessment of all the barriers around the town.

Project manager Sandra Watkins said there was an increasing emphasis on improving the streetscape by removing "street clutter" and providing better access for pedestrians while maintaining road safety.

"It is recognised that where pedestrian guard railing is badly sited or over installed it not only alienates pedestrians but also looks unsightly, easily becomes damaged which in turn leads to increased maintenance costs and complaints.

"Poor guard railing can lead to an increase in pedestrian crashes."

She said the main purpose of the railing was to prevent people from crossing the road "at an inappropriate place" or from straying onto the road inadvertently.

But Cllr John Goodwin told the Mercury he was concerned that without the barriers there could be many more accidents.

"These barriers protect pedestrians and dangerous points and direct people to safer crossing points," he said. "They also stop cars parking on junctions.

"To remove these barriers will cost thousands of pounds. The reason to remove them has nothing to do with streetscene, it is about cost of repairing them when they are rusty or damaged. The reason most are damaged is because they are protecting pedestrians when cars hit them.

"Once again the Tory-run KCC is cost cutting. How much is a life worth? This will lead to dozens of accidents involving people versus cars, lots of injuries and may be deaths. We have seen many incidents in the last few weeks."

Full story in this week's Dover Mercury.

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