'Someone could get hurt' say residents living in 'rat run'

By Claire Dukes - 25 April 2019

  • Residents from the Croft area

    Residents from the Croft area

Residents living in Old Town have raised concerns over drivers using their neighbourhood as a rat run.

  • Zac Josey

    Zac Josey

Residents in St Margaret’s Road, Winifred Street and Evelyn Street have had enough of dangerous drivers speeding through their streets - which are home to many young families.

It is alleged that in order to avoid congestion many commuters are using these roads as rat runs to cut through Old Town, but, as a result, residents have grown increasingly concerned over their safety due to speeding and aggression from drivers.

Some residents claim there have been incidences where drivers have become aggressive, and that they have been subjected to foul language and behaviour including being spat at. 

Now, thanks to a new questionnaire, part-instigated by local resident Zac Josey, residents are making sure their voices are heard. Mr Josey said: "We felt it was time to find out how the whole population of the three streets felt.

"Ambulance drivers have been harassed as they have been blocking what is essentially a single lane carriageway. Residents have been spat at, drinks thrown over people and recently there has been a fight - this is in addition to the usual verbal abuse and hand signals aimed at local residents just trying to park, turn around or get children into their cars. Someone could get really hurt. 

Since receiving feedback from the questionnaire Mr Josey says there has been a consensus building to close the junction off of Croft Road leading to St Margaret’s Road to stop drivers travelling through. Despite that this move will also inconvenience residents living in the area, some believe this is the only way to make the streets safer and hope the proposal will be considered by their local councillors.

Labour councillor for Old Town Jane Milner-Barry, who is also local to area, said: “Certainly, that would be something to consider.

"It’s certainly a problem. With people speeding down Winifred Street, that is very dangerous - especially for children who might be crossing the road.

“The best thing to do is to have a meeting with residents. We’re hoping to arrange a meeting in May.”

Labour councillor for Old Town and East Wichel, Nadine Watts, added: "Residents have expressed concerns about the increased volume of traffic using the St Margaret's Road area as a cut through.

"We have met with local residents to discuss their concerns. It is important to take a holistic approach. Councillor Jane Milner-Barry and I have been working with Swindon Borough Council’s highways officers. In May, the Council is looking to go to an informal consultation on a range of proposals to help improve parking in the area.

"We will organise another meeting with residents to discuss the way forward."

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