Brighter lights proposed for 'dangerous' pedestrian crossing

Beverley Raw and Cllr Jess Bailey

Beverley Raw and Cllr Jess Bailey, who is supporting her petition - Credit: Contributed

Better lighting may be installed at the Newton Poppleford Puffin crossing where a pedestrian was hit by a car and suffered fatal injuries. 

The campaign for better road safety measures in the village has intensified since the death of 93-year-old Ken Cooper in December 2020. The lights turned green while he was still on the road, and the car driver did not see him. 

The county council is currently trialling an adjustment to the timer on the crossing, giving people a few more seconds to get across. 

But campaigners say the crossing also needs to be better lit, and this was discussed at the latest meeting of Devon County Council’s East Devon Highways and Traffic Orders committee on July 22. 

Committee member Cllr Jess Bailey, whose area includes Newton Poppleford, said: “I pressed for a change to the drafted recommendation that there should be no improvement to lighting at the puffin crossing. I am pleased to say that the officers are going to now reconsider. They will be looking at whether it is possible to have equivalent lighting to that used at zebra crossings. I believe it is vital there is a lighting upgrade". 

She said she also wants to see the overall crossing time increased beyond the current 16 seconds. 

Mr Cooper’s daughter, Beverley Raw, also thinks this is a priority. She is concerned for the safety of slow-moving or disabled people – a category that will include her after she has an operation on her foot in October.  

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She said: “It’s all very well them 'piloting' a slightly longer scheme; that presumably is for nimble-footed people. It still does not address people who are slow, like dad was, or disabled, like I will be, albeit temporarily. Improved lighting is a plan, or make it a zebra crossing and have done with traffic lights which drivers are more likely to check than a person on the crossing.” 

'Family man' Ken Cooper

Ken Cooper - Credit: Beverley Raw

Later this year the county council’s Cabinet member for highways, Cllr Stuart Hughes, will meet community representatives to discuss possible improvements to pedestrian crossings and pavements, along with road markings to slow down traffic. 

Residents have called for a 20mph speed limit – but the county council has prioritised only four new 20mph zones for delivery in 2022/23, none in East Devon.