Motorists have been driving the wrong way down a Neston ‘rat run’ – where a four-year-old girl died in a collision – even after the introduction of a one-way system.
After successfully winning their fight to make Gladstone Road one-way, 10 determined residents have taken the enforcement of the new traffic restriction into their own hands because the permanent signs and road markings aren’t in place yet.
These women have been braving the elements to stop vehicles in their tracks and sent them round the longer, legal way.
For nearly two weeks between 6.30am and 8pm, they have voluntarily taken it in turns to stand at the ‘no entry’ end of the road near the temporary signs to spread the word that the flow of traffic has changed as they believe there could have been head-on collisions if they hadn’t stepped in.
Norma Smalls, one of the residents on the rota, says the road was too narrow to be two-way and became a shortcut for Sainsbury’s shoppers and parents heading for Neston High School.
“It has been a long, hard battle to make it one-way,” said Norma, whose requests to Cheshire West and Chester Council date back a number of years.
“I actually don’t think highways realised how bad it was down here – I call it ‘the forgotten road’.
“We’ve sent hundreds of cars away – about 20 an hour at the beginning.
“We’re doing it for the safety of pedestrians and motorists.
“I had a lady say to me the other day that it is the safest she has felt walking down this road for a long time.”
Thelma Roscoe, who has lived on Gladstone Road for 46 years, called it a ‘rat run’.
She said: “I honestly believe there would have been a serious accident if we hadn’t volunteered because drivers have already turned in by the time they see the temporary road signs.”
Neighbour Vikki Howcroft says she has had three cars written off since living on the street, and snapped more than 200 photos of trucks and coaches going down the street in one month alone.
While Janet Collier added: “The road is too narrow and was not built for the volume of cars.”
Little Esme Weir was killed when a delivery driver mounted the kerb and struck her on Gladstone Road in Janaury 2016.
She had been riding the Disney scooter she received for her birthday along the pavement en route to pre-school with her mum when the tragic accident unfolded.
Plans for the one-way system were in the pipeline before Esme’s death, but the scheme was put on hold to accommodate the subsequent police investigation and court proceedings.
Norma said they’ve received ‘so much support’ from locals and they are hopeful that motorists are starting to get the message.
Cheshire West and Chester Council have been contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.