Dad’s play ban to protect daughter from ‘rat run’ drivers on Sunderland estate

Kevin Stoker, of Waterford Green, Pennywell, Sunderland with daughter Kennedy (3) at a junction in waterford Green that he claims should have 'Give-Way' markings on the road.

Kevin Stoker, of Waterford Green, Pennywell, Sunderland with daughter Kennedy (3) at a junction in waterford Green that he claims should have 'Give-Way' markings on the road.

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A DAD today told how speeding motorists have forced him to ban his three-year-old daughter from playing outside the family home.

Kevin Stoker said cars are regularly using Waterford Green in Pennywell, as a “rat run” through the estate, leading to a string of near misses with pedestrians.

The 43-year-old said he has now stopped his daughter Kennedy from playing with friends near the busy junction with Doulton Drive.

“This has been a problem for a while, but it just seems to be getting worse and worse,” he said. “It’s like Silverstone some days.

“What does it take to have measures put in place to put a stop to this? There have already been a number of near misses. Does somebody have to be seriously injured or killed?”

The taxi driver is now urging residents to contact Sunderland City Council in a bid to have signs and road markings installed at the scene. “I’ve already written to them, but it hasn’t done any good so far,” he said. “But I know it isn’t just me who has concerns about this.

“I’ve already stopped my daughter from playing out there. I shouldn’t have to do it, but I have no other choice.”

Mr Stoker said the problem started about six years ago when a new road layout was introduced, leading to drivers using Waterford Green as a short cut.

“This isn’t a new problem, but it’s time something was done,” said Mr Stoker. “There are no signs to tell drivers there is a speed limit, or even to let them know there is a junction ahead, and to slow down. There is a speed bump on the junction, but that’s no use at all. The drivers just come speeding up to it, and then slam on their brakes. I’m not asking the authorities to close the road completely, just a couple of signs or markings. I’m not saying it will put an end to the problem completely, but something to let them know children are playing in the area would help.”

Councillor James Blackburn, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for city services, said: “Where possible new estates are ‘engineered’ to help reduce vehicle speeds and create a friendlier pedestrian environment.

“In this instance, the estate in question already has traffic calming measures – junction tables, etc – and vehicle speeds should be relatively low.

“In line with current government guidelines, there is a minimal use of street signs, which helps motorists recognise the space as being different from a typical road and to react by driving more slowly, responding directly to the behaviour of other users rather than signs and features and taking greater responsibility for their safe and appropriate behaviour.”