‘Fix junction or someone could be killed’

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Taxi drivers have criticised the layout of a much-maligned junction in Blackpool – urging the council to change the route before someone is killed.

Danny Waddell and Les Hamer, alongside Coun Peter Evans, a taxi driver himself, said the junction of Watson Road and St Annes Road in South Shore needs to be revamped to stop any pedestrians or motorists being seriously injured.

Mr Waddell, 34, a taxi driver for 15 years, has already received 200 signatures from an online petition urging the council to change the route back to its original layout.

He said: “I would encourage people to support this before there is indeed a serious accident or someone is killed.

“It could be someone you know. As a taxi driver I regularly see people not knowing what they’re doing or where they are turning. It quite simply is dangerous and whoever thought up the plans for this outrageous junction need to be responsible for restoring it to how it was.”

Council chiefs pledged to take a fresh look at the road junction in March after complaints following changes to traffic signals.

Drivers travelling west down Watson Road must give way to traffic on Marton Drive before reaching the traffic lights at the junction with St Annes Road.

Previously Watson Road had its own traffic signals.

But Les Hamer, of the Independent Taxi Drivers’ Association, added: “It is absolutely ridiculous. There has been so many accidents since it was changed.

“You have two roads going into one, a busy main road and another which is difficult to negotiate. It really needs looking at again.”

Coun Evans, who lives just off Watson Road, added: “I voiced my concerns when it was altered.

“There has been changes made, slight alterations, but it needs to go back to how it was before.”

The petition can be found at www.change.org under http://chn.ge/1yCzuA5?recruiter=84731347

Coun John Jones, cabinet member for highways and transport at Blackpool Council, said: “The design of the five-way junction at Watson Road is a complex one and it is difficult to find a perfect solution there.

“The current layout was done with safety for all road users as the main focus.”

He added: “However, I am more than happy to sit down with Mr Waddell and listen to his concerns, along with the newly set up Highways Consultative Forum, and discuss his ideas.”