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LONG-running road safety campaigns by two villages along the A354 near Blandford were brought sharply into focus by traffic accidents in February.

The first highlighted an ongoing battle by local residents and the parish council to reduce the speed on the main road through their village.

Delays were caused when a lorry took a real ‘fruity fling’ by coming off the carriageway near the Farquharson Arms in Pimperne on February 11 and became stuck in the ditch by Yarde Farm.

But four days earlier there was a night-time collision in Tarrant Hinton which resulted in a vehicle colliding with the garden wall of Mike Nathan, who said it was typical of incidents which had caused residents to campaign for years for a safer junction onto and exiting the A354 in the village.

He said: “It was very dark, and probably someone driving too fast not realising there was a junction. A car turning right from the Salisbury direction, and the car behind apparently trying to overtake. Bang!”

“Fortunately no-one died, but it’s only a matter of time before someone does. This junction is difficult, even in good weather and visibility, as cars come through so fast . The parish council managed to get the speed limit to 50mph  years ago but has been consistently refused 40mph. A request for rumble strips at the start of the 50mph to make drivers aware of danger ahead was not sanctioned.”

Parish council clerk Hilary Fildes said: “Do we really have to wait for a death or a serious accident before our local knowledge and daily experience is accepted and improvements are made?

“Over the last ten years there are constant references in parish meeting minutes to attempts or suggestions as to how to reduce the speed through the junction, but few specific references to numbers or dates of accidents. Unless the police take action after an incident, it is not recorded and not accepted by Dorset Highways, who do not accept that the junction is dangerous or that 50mph is too high. There are too few houses to qualify for a lower speed limit, as specified by the Department of Transport.

“We have asked residents on the A354 to keep a record of incidents, but people have stopped doing so because it was regarded as anecdotal or inaccurate.” “At the time of the planning application for a cafe in the "Old Barn" on the A354 we responded that there had been seven traffic incidents on the A354 in 2014. As the police had not recorded them, the information was not accepted.

“I understand that although the police are aware of the latest incident in Tarrant, they don't propose to take any action.”



Top: The lorry stuck in the ditch in Pimperne on February 11

Bottom: The car which ended up in Mike Nathan’s garden wall on February 7.