Protesters turn up heat in traffic lights plea
Reporter: Robbie MacDonald
Date online: 23 December 2013
CARNATIONS, placards and the sound of car horns signalled a protest calling for changes to a zebra crossing where schoolgirl Annalise Holt died last week.
Children, parents, pedestrians and drivers made their views heard at a demonstration beside Milnrow Road, where the popular 12 year old was fatally hit by a van on Tuesday afternoon. Around 150 campaigners slowed traffic in both directions near St James’s School.
They called for traffic lights where Annalise and her 11-year-old pal were struck. Annalise died later that evening, while the 11-year-old girl remains in hospital.
Pink, red and white carnations were tied to safety fences by the crossing while protesters held up placards with messages such as “Child Safety Before Budgets”, “No Excuses” and “Oldham Council Open Your Eyes”.
Some said that area of Milnrow Road and Crompton Way was confusing for drivers, with turnings for Salts Street, Linney Lane and Edmund Street all nearby.
One or two motorists drove aggressively across the zebra crossing — with one women driver seen sticking her fingers up and shouting at the protesters.
Onlookers gasped at the vehicles which failed to stop — but said it proved their claims about the crossing’s dangers.
Julian Shaw and wife Bev (both 50) said they had a minor accident with a police car at the crossing 18 months ago.
Mr Shaw, originally from Shaw but now living in Littleborough, said: “Bev was driving and put her brakes on when we got to the zebra crossing. But a police car bumped into us from behind. It was only a minor bump but the policewoman who was driving said she did not realise there was crossing here. If the police can’t see the crossing, it must be bad.”
Among the protesters were mum Paula Newton with children Haille Ashton (8) Brandon Wynn (12) and Sophie Wynn (6).
Mrs Newton (43), of Oak Street, Shaw, said: “We’ve had a few close shaves at that crossing over the years. I also saw a woman’s dog killed there by a vehicle.”
Protest organiser Danny Sheppard (46) said: “Annalise’s uncle, Darren Holt, came along to show his support today which we really appreciate.
“We hope to have a meeting with Oldham Council in the new year to see what they have to say.”
More than 4,000 people have signed an online petition calling for changes to the crossing and Oldham Council is looking at the site. Add your name at www.ipetitions.com/petition/install-a-pelican-crossing-on-milnrow-road-shaw.
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