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MP leads calls for safety changes on danger road

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 17, 2014

  • 25/07/13 Fatal crash site - Willesley Lane,, Ashby De La Zouch RTA/RTC location, Willesley Lane, Moira..

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AN MP has revealed he plans to write to council chiefs to plead with them to consider making safety improvements on a road where two Swadlincote postmen died.

Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, told the Mail he was ‘determined’ to see changes for motorists along Willesley Woodside, near Ashby.

The issue has been thrust into the limelight after highways chiefs at Leicestershire County Council said they did not plan to make any changes at the site where Stephen O’Brien, 51, and passenger Charlie Cooper, 49, of Middle Close, died in a smash in July last year.

He said: “The speed limits along Willesley Woodside were set before the nearby Hicks Lodge facility was opened and now pose a dangerous risk.

“The new National Forest is making our area an attractive destination and we must discourage tourists from speeding with appropriate speed limits.

“I intend to write to the county council to look into how we can make the area safer.”

The MP was one of many who joined a campaign in the aftermath of the tragic crash to try to improve road safety in the area and save the lives of other drivers.

It comes after the authority said evidence had shown that this was the only reported accident in the past 20 years in the area, and that changes would not make ‘any difference’ to driver safety.

A spokesman for Leicestershire County Council said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends following this accident.

“We do introduce changes where we believe this will bring a road safety benefit but, based on our evidence, we won’t be considering any changes to signs or lines on this stretch of road.”

An inquest revealed that the car the two posties were travelling in became ‘airborne’ on a bumpy section of carriageway before it crashed into trees and hedges.

Driver Mr O’Brien lost control of the vehicle, which came to rest on its roof on a railway line.

It was also established that the vehicle must have been travelling at almost 70mph. The limit on that stretch is 60mph.

The inquest heard both men were wearing seatbelts.

Coroner Carolyn Hull recorded a verdict that both men ‘died as a result of a road traffic collision’.

She told their families: “I hope we’ve been able to give you some answers to the questions you came to court with.”

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