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Dover MP Charlie Elphicke told of road dangers by Snowdown villagers after Womenswold crash that killed Casey Hood and Lucy Leadbeater

By Sam Lennon

Residents fear another fatal accident on an “incredibly dangerous” stretch of road.

The route, between Chillenden and Womenswold, has claimed three lives in seven weeks.

Two women, Casey Hood, 18, and Lucy Leadbeater, 27, were killed in a crash in Nethersole Road, Womenswold, on Friday, September 14.

MP Charlie Elphicke with Snowdown residents Rex Morton and Kate Comfort. Picture from the office of Charlie Elphicke MP
MP Charlie Elphicke with Snowdown residents Rex Morton and Kate Comfort. Picture from the office of Charlie Elphicke MP

Arry Petch, 18, died after a car travelling from Nonington towards Snowdown crashed in Holt Street on July 29.

Residents of Weston Mews in Snowdown, whose homes are located between the two crash sites, fear “further heartbreak” unless urgent action is taken to introduce traffic calming measures.

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke met with locals Kate Comfort and the Rev Rex Morton on Thursday, September 20, after being invited to see the road for himself and discuss their concerns.

Mrs Comfort said: “We firmly believe that unless urgent action is taken to deter speeding motorists driving through Snowdown, it is only a matter of time before there is yet another fatal accident on our doorsteps.

“Cars, motorbikes and lorries speed past at 60mph on a narrow road only feet from our front doors. We all worry for our safety and for the safety of our children and pets.”

The two recent fatal accidents come after Owain Broughtwood, 21, died in a crash in Sandwich Road between Nonington and Chillenden in June 2016.

Mr Morton, a vicar in a church in London, said: “I’m heartbroken at young lives being lost and ruined because of speed. This stretch of road is incredibly dangerous.”

Fellow Weston Mews resident Rachel Thompson said: “Cars travel too fast outside our houses throughout the day and night. The road currently has a 60mph limit which needs reducing, alongside other speed reduction initiatives.

“Snowdown is a lovely place but we do not feel safe taking children or animals out the front.”

And Gina Lipman added: “Since our houses have been built, it has been a real concern for me the speed at which the cars go along the main road at the front. Although at the end of our row of our houses there's a 40 mile sign, many drivers ignore that.

“Also because of the bridge over the train station, it makes it quite difficult to see cars coming from Nonington, as you're turning out on to main road, and that's a real potential for an accident.”

Floral tributes at the roadside after the Womenswold crash
Floral tributes at the roadside after the Womenswold crash

The residents want the speed limit in front of their homes to be reduced to 30mph – as well as “some form of physical speed restriction” to force motorists to slow.

They told Mr Elphicke that adjustments to traffic restrictions have not changed since the new homes were built in 2016. They are also concerned that the wooded area adjacent to their line of houses obstructs motorists’ views.

The MP is now urging Kent County Council to listen to residents’ concerns – and act before any more lives are lost.

He said: “Too many young lives are being lost on this stretch of road.

“We need better street lighting, traffic calming measures and a lower speed limit – especially in front of the Weston Mews houses.

“Residents fear it is only a matter of time before there is another fatal accident on their doorsteps. We must act now to make this road safe.”

The latest two crashes continue to be investigated.

In the case of Arry Petch two men were arrested and have since been released without bail while enquiries carry on.

Casey Hood
Casey Hood
Lucy Leadbeater - picture from Facebook
Lucy Leadbeater - picture from Facebook

In the Womenswold case investigators last week revealed that the car, a Toyota Yaris driven by Ms Leadbeater, crashed after being followed by police.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct says that officers spotted the car, with the two women and two men, speeding near Canterbury Police Station.

Police in a van went in pursuit before the car pulled up on a layby just off the A2 on the B2046 Adisham Road.

The police van came up alongside but the car drove off. The van then chased the car to Nethersole Road where it collided with a tree at about at about 3.50am.

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