Busy Shrewsbury ambulance hub 'needs to be moved' away from schools

An ambulance depot near two secondary schools is "in the wrong place" and needs to be moved, safety campaigners have said.

Various safety concerns have been raised about Longden Road, where there are two secondary schools
Various safety concerns have been raised about Longden Road, where there are two secondary schools

Almost 13,000 ambulances a year - or around 35 a day - are despatched from the Shrewsbury depot with the vast majority going past the nearby Meole Brace Secondary School and The Priory School on Longden Road.

West Midlands Ambulance Service revealed this week that it is now considering building a new hub to replace the "ageing" Shrewsbury site after calls for the depot to be moved to a different location, away from the schools and with better access to the A5.

It comes after Radbrook councillor Chris Lemon spoke about the issue at a recent Radbrook Road Safety Group meeting.

He said: "I know there is a lot of concern about the ambulance station. There are large numbers of blue light dispatches from the Sweetlake depot. An FOI found there are nearly 13,000 dispatches from Sweetlake a year. That works out to about 35 a day. It is so obvious that it is in the wrong place.

"It was supposed to be a maintenance hub. There used to be 10/11/12 dispatches a day. But 10 years down the line, there are three times as many. I think it's appalling.

"Councillor Dean Carroll (cabinet member for highways) was on the radio recently saying the depot was in the wrong place. It needs to be moved."

The West Midlands Ambulance Service site just off Longden Road, Shrewsbury

Figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request show that in 2018, there were 12,985 dispatches from the depot, with 12,760 in 2019. For the first nine months of 2020, there were 10,197 blue light dispatches, suggesting the total for the year would have been similar to the previous two.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The number of ambulance movements along Longdon Road has not changed in some years. Our ambulances only use the base for meal breaks and at the start/end of shifts - the rest of the time they are in the community dealing with patients.

"Our crews are acutely aware of the two schools on the road and drive accordingly. The fact that we have not had a collision with a pedestrian anywhere in the West Midlands for over three years, during which time we have answered more than four million calls, shows that our crews are aware of the issue.

"The trust would have no objections to a 20mph speed limit being introduced and has previously supported residents requests to restrict the number of cars that park along the road at school drop off/pick up times.”

Flashing speed signs on Bank Farm Road as well as a new crossing at Sweetlake Meadow were among measures promised to concerned parents at the road safety meeting. A council officer also said designs were being looked into to make the Longden Road/Roman Road roundabout safer, and the area had been put on the authority's "accident cluster site" list, meaning a long-term project of more expensive safety measures should be coming in the next couple of years.

The group was launched by Angela Warren after her son Joe was hit by a car in September, and fellow organiser Katie Blant is also on board after her son Sebastian was confronted and sworn at by a driver after a near miss.

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