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Meet the woman fighting for her street after 25% of residents report being hit by cars

PUBLISHED: 17:06 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 25 March 2019

Emma Heath's  home on Benton Street in Hadleigh which has been struck several times in the last year.  Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Emma Heath's home on Benton Street in Hadleigh which has been struck several times in the last year. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Archant 2019

A resident of an historic street in a Suffolk market town is carrying out a poll of her neighbours in a bid to make their road safer.

Emma Heath outside her home on Benton Street in Hadleigh Picture: SONYA DUNCANEmma Heath outside her home on Benton Street in Hadleigh Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Emma Heath, 40, who lives in Benton Street, Hadleigh, says four vehicles have hit her property in the last year, one damaging the overhanging section of the first-storey of her home.

Now, a poll of her neighbours has shown that people walking along the pavement are regularly reporting near-misses with vehicles and damage to their properties. Height and weight restrictions are imposed on vehicles using the road.

Miss Heath said: “We’re lucky enough to have a driveway - some people in Benton Street open their front doors and step out into traffic driving on their doorstep.

“I’ve had a number of people tell me that they’ve been clipped by wing mirrors of moving vehicles while they’ve been walking on the pavements.

The weight limit for Benton Street is clearly signposted Picture: SONYA DUNCANThe weight limit for Benton Street is clearly signposted Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

“It’s a 30mph limit and a 7.5-tonne weight limit, but people don’t pay any attention to that.

“Drivers are mounting the pavement to pass other cars and they’re not getting off, they just drive along it.”

Miss Heath is worried that despite the potential threat of these incidents, something more serious will have to happen before action is taken to make the street safe.

The results of the survey have yet to be finalised, but after Miss Heath has collected all the responses from her neighbours she intends to submit her findings to Suffolk Highways in a bid to raise the issue with road chiefs.

The damage to the overhanging building in Benton Street, Hadleigh, is clear to see Picture: SONYA DUNCANThe damage to the overhanging building in Benton Street, Hadleigh, is clear to see Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Preliminary results have shown, of the 80 people that have already responded, over 50% have suffered damage to their vehicles or buildings and 27% had been hit by a vehicle when walking down Benton Street.

Mick Fraser, Suffolk county councillor for Hadleigh, previously used part of a locality budget for Hadleigh to fund a Suffolk Highways safety survey of Benton Street, but Miss Heath feels it did not fully report the number of injuries or accidents.

Mr Fraser said: “I have spoken to Emma and she has told me that she was carrying out this survey in Benton Street.

“I have yet to see the outcome of the survey but Benton Street is an ongoing historical issue for the town and was not built for this much traffic.

The street is not one-way, but is often too narrow for two cars to comfortably pass Picture: SONYA DUNCANThe street is not one-way, but is often too narrow for two cars to comfortably pass Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

“I am working to solve Hadleigh’s southern access issue, whatever the eventual solution may be.”

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