A war of words has broken out over a pedestrian crossing in Sunderland.
Liberal Democrats have criticised Sunderland City Council over a proposal to remove a zebra crossing outside the former Grindon Mill pub on Chester Road, which provides pedestrian access between Grindon, Pennywell and Nookside.
It is an utter disgraceMary Boddy
That could see it replaced with a light controlled crossing further along the road, with the council stating the move is to improve safety as it is currently located close to a roundabout.
However, Lib Dem councillor for Grindon and Thorney Close, Coun Stephen O’Brien, says residents in the area he has spoken to – led by his grandmother – are ‘outraged’ at a lack of consultation by the council.
He says the council’s plan, which would see the crossing replaced further down the street towards the Broadway shops, will force elderly people and children to walk further and take risks by crossing the dual carriageway somewhere else.
The council, though, refute that.
Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Coun Amy Wilson, said: “All the local ward councillors, including Coun O’Brien, have been fully involved in the consultation process around these proposals which are still being considered.
“He will also be fully aware of the comprehensive research which has gone into the options to help improve road safety for both pedestrians and motorists on this busy section of road.
“These options, which Coun O’Brien is also aware of, are still being considered.
“Options include replacing the old zebra crossing at the busy roundabout with a light controlled crossing only 40m (130ft) away from the current location.
“This location is a more open stretch of road where there is less conflict between vehicle and pedestrian movements.”
Pensioner Mary Boddy, 77, of nearby Geddes Road – who is Coun O’Brien’s grandmother – is leading the calls for the council’s proposal to be axed.
She said: “I’ve lived in Grindon for decades and this zebra crossing has been here for as long as anyone can remember – now all of a sudden the council say its unsafe.
“It is an utter disgrace.
“If they move the crossing they’re forcing us older folk to walk much further down the Broadway to cross the road and catch the bus into town.
“In typical Sunderland Council fashion they haven’t listened to local people before they make decisions.”
Coun O’Brien said: “My nana is right.
“I’ve had complaints from dozens of her friends and our neighbours who are outraged at not being consulted by the council about the change.
“Not only will it mean residents are forced to walk miles to cross the road, it is going to encourage people to risk crossing this dual carriageway in unsafe places potentially causing more accidents.
“If the council insist on removing the zebra crossing at the Grindon Mill they must replace it with a new, safe crossing near to our part of Grindon so we aren’t left with no crossing at all to get to the bus stop into town or to get to the schools and shops in Pennywell.
“I’ll not be letting this one lie – and if the council’s leadership don’t listen they’ll be getting their ear bent by my nana.”