Third car crash in £250k ‘safer’ road

Times Series: "Inevitable": the scene of the accident in Partingdale Lane, Mill Hill, on Monday morning "Inevitable": the scene of the accident in Partingdale Lane, Mill Hill, on Monday morning

A third crash in less than six months on a road plagued by controversy has reignited fears over the safety of drivers and pedestrians.

The smash in Partingdale Lane, Mill Hill, happened despite new safety measures costing £250,000.

Two cars collided at around 8am on Monday, leaving a 40-year-old woman with minor injuries and adding to a poor safety record in the months since the lane reopened to traffic.

The narrow winding road was closed as a through-road four years ago on safety grounds, but last October, £250,000 of safety measures were finished and the lane reopened.

The reopening came after a long-running battle between residents, who wanted the road kept closed, and Councillor Brian Coleman, who argued drivers had a right to use it.

But residents and critics of Mr Coleman have described the improvements, including traffic islands, a pavement, width restrictions and a flashing speed sign, as a "white elephant" and say they have failed to reduce the danger.

Anne Rowe-Parr, 46, lives with her young family in Partingdale Lane. The latest crash happened outside her home.

She said: "It's very dangerous. People go far too fast and it's a complete cut-through. It was an accident waiting to happen.

"There's a pavement on one side and it's quite scary to walk on it because it's not that wide and people do go very, very fast."

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: "It was inevitable. Our biggest fear is somebody will die if nothing changes."

The road has been closed and reopened repeatedly in the past and the feud between residents and the council even went to the High Court in April 2003, where Mr Coleman's role was criticised by a judge.

In September last year, Mr Coleman described the reopening of the road as a "victory for democracy" and accused residents of fighting a "dirty campaign".

Mr Coleman then accused residents of faking the first accident after the reopening, a collision between two cars in December.

Wayne Casey, a Liberal Democrat Mill Hill ward councillor, believes the only safe option would have been to keep the road closed.

He derided the money spent as a waste. "I honestly believe that if it had been left to Coleman's council colleagues they would not have spent it because it's a total waste of public money," he said. "It's a complete white elephant.

"Brian Coleman is like a child with a favourite toy. He just wouldn't let this go and his colleagues let him do it to make up for the fact that they'll never make him leader of the council.

"It makes you ashamed of local government. It's an unmitigated disgrace, but they can get away with it because we're apathetic and let people like Coleman rule the roost."

Mr Coleman, cabinet member responsible for community safety, said he was too busy to comment on the latest incident.

Councillor Andrew Harper, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "Council officers will work with police to establish the reasons for the accident.

"Once these factors are known there may be a need to review the operation of traffic controls."

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