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Mirfield schoolboy’s dad makes plea for road safety measures in Upper Hopton

FITTING TRIBUTE: Council and police representatives joined Upper Hopton Community Association to talk about traffic calming measures for the village. (d307k236)

FITTING TRIBUTE: Council and police representatives joined Upper Hopton Community Association to talk about traffic calming measures for the village. (d307k236)

MEASURES to make village roads safer would be a fitting tribute to a schoolboy who died earlier this year.

That was the message from Declan Newsome’s father as he spoke passionately about the loss of his 15-year-old son.

Ken Newsome joined concerned villagers who quizzed police and council officials about road safety in the village during a busy meeting of Upper Hopton Community Association.

The meeting heard police had prosecuted 39 drivers for speeding during a four-hour operation in the village earlier this month.

The highest speed recorded at the three locations was 46mph where the limit is 30mph.

Mr Newsome said: “You booked so many people around that area on just one day. How many people are doing that every day?

“That’s an accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately it happened to my boy.

“We need something that stops these people putting their foots down. If we get restrictions in this part of Mirfield that would be a great tribute to Declan.”

Castle Hall School pupil Declan was injured in a collision with a car in Hopton Lane on July 9.

He was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary but died of his injuries three weeks later.

Acting Sgt Wayne Baker, of the roads policing unit, said the collision investigation had found speed was not a factor in the collision involving Declan.

Speaking about the recent operation he said: “The vast majority were sticking to the speed limit.”

But there was widespread support among those present for reducing the limit to 20mph.

One woman complained about ‘boy racers’, telling the meeting: “I can hear them opening the throttle out near Kirkheaton. It’s like a race track there.”

A man said: “I just think 30mph is probably too high in the central part of the village.”

Others complained that the village was being used by drivers trying to avoid traffic on the M62.

One man said: “It’s the rat run issue that should be concentrated on, not just speed. Traffic calming measures do stop that.”

Narrow roads, dangerous junctions and areas where road markings had worn away were among the other issues raised.

Kirklees casualty reduction officer Mark Ramsden said speed loops would be put in place throughout the village to measures traffic volumes and speeds in the coming weeks.

“We will never eliminate risk, but there are things we can do to make changes,” he said.

Mr Ramsden said that the speed loop data could be used to identify the most appropriate measures.

Sgt Baker said he would put in a request for a second speed enforcement operation when the data was returned.

An update on the speed loop study is expected at the next community association meeting.

 

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