Schoolgirl killed in latest road tragedy

PUBLISHED: 18:13 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:26 31 May 2010

SAFETY improvements on a deadly stretch of road between Linton and Haverhill will arrive months too late for a Linton schoolgirl killed in a collision on Friday. Sixteen-year-old Alice Westland was on foot when she died after being involved in a collision

SAFETY improvements on a deadly stretch of road between Linton and Haverhill will arrive months too late for a Linton schoolgirl killed in a collision on Friday.

Sixteen-year-old Alice Westland was on foot when she died after being involved in a collision with a black Peugeot 306 being driven by a 37-year-old Haverhill woman.

The accident happened shortly before 6.30pm on Friday, at Park Hill, close to the Horseheath turnoff on the A1307. Alice, who lived in Thistle Down, Cardinals Green, was flung into a ditch by the side of the road and died shortly after being reached by paramedics.

Medical staff battled to save her life, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Peugeot was badly shaken but uninjured.

District and county councillor for Linton, John Batchelor, said that road safety improvements for the notorious stretch of road had already been approved, and would hopefully be installed in the summer.

"What can I say?" he said. "Another young life lost, in the same location as where Imogen Barker was killed in February last year.

"The county council agreed in December that the crossing there will be improved, but obviously it will come too late to prevent this tragedy."

The council intends to widen the road and fit a feeder lane for traffic turning right into Cardinals Green. A pedestrian refuge will both provide a safe midway point for people crossing and hopefully encourage drivers to slow down.

It is likely that Alice was killed while trying to cross the A1307 from the bus-stop on the opposite side of the road to Cardinals Green, just as 15-year-old Linton Village College pupil Imogen Barker was 14 months ago.

Cllr Batchelor said: "Following Imogen's death we had a public meeting to discuss ways to improve the road's safety. Redirecting the bus through Cardinals Green would be ideal, but the road is so narrow in the village that a double-decker bus would have trouble getting through."

Esther Cornell, spokesman for road safety campaign group Access 1307, said: "The fact that within six months there will be a right-hand turn in this area makes this accident more tragic.

"It is time for the planners to look at communities and not stretches of tarmac when undertaking their calculations and see what can be done to mitigate the effects of traffic before more accidents occur."

A reduction of the speed limit to 50mph is being called for, but drastic measures such as a bridge or roundabout, Cllr Batchelor said, would likely be prohibitively expensive.

Cllr Batchelor said that in the 10 years he had been on South Cambridgeshire District Council there had been more than 30 deaths on the A1307, including six last year.

Caroline Derbyshire, Linton Village College headteacher, paid tribute to Alice, saying: "We are in a state of great sorrow because we have lost one of our own: a bright, caring, adventurous young woman who had a brilliant future ahead of her.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Alice's family and close friends.

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