By Rebecca Curley, Local Democracy Reporter, 3 March 2020
The 17th century pub, common land and listed walls surrounding St John the Evangelist church in Redhill have been called an “oasis of history”.
The church and nearby St John’s Primary School date back to the 1800s and The Plough pub further down from the churchyard has been open since the 1600s.
But the area not far from Earlswood station and tucked away from the A23 is now known by residents as a hotspot for accidents and dangerous driving.
People living along Church Road, Pendleton Road and Fountain Road have been monitoring how dangerous the area has become.
Over the years, since 2004, they have counted 15 incidents of crashes, pedestrians being hit by wing mirrors and cars rolling on their sides.
“Every day people end up in a stand-off. Traffic struggles to flow,” said resident Diane Brown.
She is part of a group of residents who have been monitoring the safety of the area for a number of years.
On Monday (2 March), they handed over a petition signed by 355 people calling for Surrey County Council (SCC) to make the area safer for pedestrians and motorists.
Speaking at the SCC and Reigate and Banstead Local Committee on Monday, Mrs Brown added: “Pedestrians are left unsafe. My husband was caught by a wing mirror and slammed into a wall.
“He’s not the only person this has happened to.”
Della Torra, who also carries out a community speedwatch in the area, had to once drag her daughter Nyree by the hair to get her out of the way from a passing bus.
She said: “Nyree was coming home from school and the bus came up from behind her and mounted the pavement, almost taking her out if I hadn’t pulled her by her hair off her scooter.”
A nursery opened up at the the church hall in September 2019 and families walk children to nearby St John’s Primary School.
Residents say pavements are narrow and do not run all along the road so people have to cross at certain points to get back onto a pavement.
They say cars and lorries speeding along are not aware there is a school or nursery nearby.
Mrs Brown said the roads in the area are an “essential route to primary school and nursery”.
She added: “As you drive around the area it’s hard to spot the nursery. How can we make it feel like the conservation area it should be?”
The county council carried out an assessment of personal injury collisions between October 2016 and September 2019 and only had two recorded incidents.
It said it has already made a number of improvements in 2008/09, including a signalised pedestrian crossing in Pendleton Road, widened the pavement along Fountain Road and an informal pedestrian crossing point was provided in Church Road.
A further feasibility study will be carried out in 2020/21 with a view to introducing a weight limit for lorries accessing Pendleton Road.
Councillor Natalie Bramhall, SCC division member for Redhill West and Meadvale, said she was also looking at ways for a footpath to be built through the common land below the church to help people walk to Fountain Road.
She told the meeting: “Even though that is not perfect, it would help to alleviate the problem of walking along a narrow path.
“St John’s is a little oasis of history located in Redhill. And that’s one of the reasons people move here.”
The meeting was told there are signs indicating there is a school nearby. Concern was also raised around the potential introduction of parking charges at Earlswood station, which could force more commuters to park in the surrounding roads.
Timeline of incidents recorded by residents since 2004 (presented to councillors at the meeting)
- Car spins off Pendleton Road onto the green crashing into a cottage wall by the school
- HGV loses balance, crashes into church wall and knocks over street lamp, telegraph pole and flashing speed warning sign
- Pedestrian crossing installed outside St John’s School in Pendleton Road
- Car loses control ending up on the green in front of cottages
- Two cars collide on Fountain Road in front of post box
- Car spins off Pendleton Road onto common, crashing into telegraph pole
- Zebra crossing installed in Pendleton Road near Abinger Drive
- Debris falls from HGV onto Pendleton Road
- Young girl has a narrow escape with a bus as it mounted pavement in Fountain Road
- St John’s Church Hall built
- HGV collides with traffic light at pedestrian crossing in Pendleton Road
- Car crashes into wall and lands on church drive
- Girl is hit by passing van in Pendleton Road
- Two cars collide at bend outside The Plough pub in Church Road
- Car overturns at Sandpit Lane and Pendleton Road junction
- Car crashes and rolls in Pendleton Road colliding with telegraph pole
- HGV jack-knifed and crashes with car in Church Road
- Lorry mounts pavement in Pendleton Road. Pedestrian hurt
- St John’s Nursery opens at the church hall
- Breakfast and after-school clubs start at St John’s School