People power key to improving one of Shropshire's most dangerous roads - MP
People power is the key to a safety campaign to improve one of Shropshire's most dangerous roads, North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said.
Mr Paterson is leading a new group that wants to bring in a dual carriageway on a stretch of the A41 between Hinstock and Whitchurch to make it safer. He said there have been 200 accidents and 300 casualties on the road in the last 10 years, including 10 deaths.
He said that having people tell their stories of crashes and mishaps on the danger road is the way to secure both short-term safety measures and the long-term goal of installing a dual carriageway.
He chaired a meeting with Market Drayton Town Council, Whitchurch Town Council, Cheswardine Parish Council and several others in the affected area.
The group is calling for people from across Shropshire to tell their parish or town councils about their experiences on the A41, from near misses to serious crashes, and Market Drayton Town Councillor Mark Whittle said he is backing the campaign "to the hilt".
Councillor Whittle and fellow councillor Roy Aldcroft attended the first meeting of the North Shropshire A41 Safety Campaign at Stoke on Tern, and they want Market Drayton people to submit their stories in as much detail as possible.
Councillor Whittle, who is also an ambulance driver for the West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: "There's that many accidents there it's unbelievable. The group's being set up to try and make it a dual carriageway.
"Local people try to cross it, it takes 20 to 30 minutes because it's that busy."
The Tern Hill roundabout that connects the A41 and the A53 is a particular blackspot, he said.
"It needs to be changed, we've already had multiple deaths.
"What we're trying to do is get all the locals who have been in accidents, who have seen accidents, to write them down with dates and times and take them to the clerks at the parish councils or Market Drayton Town Council so we can collate them together.
"It will take us two or three months to get all that stuff together and then we can put something together.
"If we hammer it as hard as we can we may be able to get major changes to the safety of the public.
"It directly affects Market Drayton people and Market Drayton families."
Shropshire Council's Rob Gittins, who represents Cheswardine, said he is certain the actual figures for accidents on the road are higher than the 200 quoted by Mr Paterson because of delays in reports.
He said: "We certainly believe that those figures are far, far higher. It takes a good 12 to 18 months for the police to tell councils so the data is always a year behind.
"All this is evidence-driven. We're on a mass evidence collection programme. We want to hear from anyone and everyone.
"It's every parish council where the A41 runs through or near to. We hope to hear from anyone that has had a crash, [or] if it takes them 10 minutes to turn out onto the A41."
To contact Market Drayton Town Council, call 01630 653364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about your parish council visit shropshire.gov.uk/committee-services/mgParishCouncilDetails.aspx