No per­mis­sion was given for ‘death trap’ ze­bra cross­ing

The Oban Times - - NEWS - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

SHOCK has been voiced that a ‘dan­ger­ous’ ze­bra cross­ing in Oban has no of­fi­cial plan­ning per­mis­sion - and con­ver­sa­tions be­tween coun­cil of­fi­cers and the ap­pli­cant were never recorded.

One lo­cal coun­cil­lor lives less than 20 me­tres from the cross­ing, plan­ning of­fi­cers work less than 300 me­tres from the lo­ca­tion and it is on the main car­riage­way through the town

Traf­fic vol­umes are very high at cer­tain times”

– yet not one per­son stopped the cross­ing be­ing in­stalled.

The cross­ing near Lidl on the Soroba Road is now be­ing de­scribed as a ‘death trap’.

Driv­ers and pedes­tri­ans want to know what is go­ing to be done about the ze­bra cross­ing be­fore a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent hap­pens.

In what ap­pears to be a plan­ning blun­der, su­per­mar­ket owner Lidl was un­der the im­pres­sion it had per­mis­sion to build the cross­ing, How­ever, Argyll and Bute Coun­cil of­fi­cials be­lieved it had autho­rised Lidl to ap­ply for per­mis­sion but had not given con­sent for it to be com­pleted.

It was not un­til a Ben­der­loch driver brought the mat­ter to the attention of the author­i­ties that it came to light there had been no pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and no de­ci­sion by the coun­cil­lors to al­low the cross­ing to go ahead.

The man who raised the issue does not want to be named, but laid out the prob­lem. He ex­plained: ‘Traf­fic vol­umes are very high at cer­tain times on Soroba Road and there are a con­sid­er­able num­ber of points of en­try and exit in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity of the cross­ing.

‘When road users are opt­ing to en­ter or leave some of the many points at busier times, the scene could fairly be de­scribed as de­mand­ing. Fail­ing to take cog­ni­sance of pedes­tri­ans wait­ing to en­ter or even al­ready on the new ze­bra cross­ing could, in such cir­cum­stances, be a pos­si­bil­ity.

‘The prom­i­nent signs for the su­per­mar­ket on one side and the filling sta­tion on the other can re­sult in the small flash­ing bea­cons be­com­ing al­most in­vis­i­ble dur­ing day­light hours.

‘It may be worth ex­am­in­ing how this ad­di­tional de­mand is man­aged by vulnerable road users – they are sum­marised as tourists, older driv­ers, young or in­ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers and mo­tor­cy­clists.’

The man con­tin­ued: ‘Some of my friends are al­ready re­port­ing al­most daily in­ci­dents on the cross­ing. A few are very close shaves. It is an ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen. It is a death trap.’

A Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest to Argyll and Bute Coun­cil stated: ‘ The coun­cil of­fi­cer who li­aised with Lidl prior to the in­stal­la­tion of this cross­ing has re­tired and we are un­able to lo­cate any recorded in­for­ma­tion within our records which con­firms that such an as­sess­ment was car­ried out.

‘No skid-re­sis­tant sur­fac­ing was in­stalled by Lidl and the coun­cil has no plans to in­stall skid-re­sis­tant sur­fac­ing at this time. How­ever, the num­ber of skid-re­lated accidents which oc­cur will be mon­i­tored.’

A spokesman for Lidl said: ‘Hav­ing spoken to our prop­erty team on the ze­bra cross­ing, they con­firm that all high­way works were car­ried out with the rel­e­vant ap­provals in place from the coun­cil. I can con­firm that the work was car­ried out af­ter we re­ceived ap­proval from the coun­cil.’

A spokesman for Argyll and Bute Coun­cil said: ‘ Lidl was given per­mis­sion to in­stall the ze­bra cross­ing to the spec­i­fi­ca­tions sup­plied. There was no re­quire­ment for skid-re­sis­tant sur­fac­ing as this is a 30mph zone. We have no rea­son to believe there is an issue with the cross­ing.

‘How­ever, on the ba­sis of in­for­ma­tion we have re­ceived, we will carry out an as­sess­ment to en­sure there are no unan­tic­i­pated safety is­sues.’

Opin­ion: page six.

The ze­bra cross­ing is close to the junc­tion with Sin­clair Drive, a busy filling sta­tion and a ma­jor su­per­mar­ket.

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