SAFETY campaigners are stepping up their campaign after the death of a pedestrian at a notorious junction near Winchester.
Jonathon Whitfield, aged 21, died in hospital last Thursday after a collision with a Ford Kuga at 5.30pm the previous evening on the A33 at Kings Worthy.
In a hideous coincidence, the campaigners presented a petition on Thursday only hours later, signed by more than 400 people about the stretch where the collision happened.
They say the 50mph speed limit is too high and should be cut to 40mph and that recent changes to the layout of the ‘Cart and Horses junction’ have made things worse.
Jill Prince and David Learmonth presented the petition at the county council meeting in Winchester.
Ms Prince, of Lynn Way, Kings Worthy, said: “We knew there had been another accident, but when we presented the petition we did not know he had died. I’m very upset.”
She added: “I’m very concerned. We tend to avoid the junction if we think it is going to be busy.”
As well as the difficult junction layout the campaigners say the speed limit should be cut.
Jackie Porter, county and city councillor, said: “I’m devastated, absolutely devastated. We have been campaigning for a long time to get the speed limit reduced. There have been accidents in the last few months.
“Two members of the public presented the petition so the council know it is not just me and other councillors making a fuss.
“One person described the junction very well. ‘It feels like the Red Arrows crossing over (the junction)’ but they haven’t had the training of the Red Arrows. The traffic is coming from different directions.”
Cllr Porter said there needed to be an independent review and a temporary reduction in the speed limit until the issue is sorted out.
Mr Whitfield, from Cheriton, near Alresford, was taken to Southampton General Hospital but died from his injuries.
His father, Terry Whitfield Stone, paid tribute. In a statement, he said: “Jonathon was a much-loved son who will be sadly missed by myself, Toby, his grandparents, his brothers, his sisters, his family and friends.”
The police closed a stretch of road from the junction with the B3047 near the Cart and Horses to the Winnall interchange at junction 9 of the M3.
The driver, a 45-year-old man from Chandler’s Ford, who has not been named, was uninjured.
The police are appealing for witnesses. Sergeant Jon Bates, from the Roads Policing Unit, said: “This collision happened during the evening rush hour. If anyone saw anything and haven’t already been in touch, please contact me on 101 quoting 44160442729.”
Juliet Howland, of nearby Abbots Worthy, has been in correspondence with the county council for two years pressing them to do something about the dangers.
She said her family has used the junction since 1971 and told the Chronicle: “There has been complacency, ignorance as to what goes on at that junction (most of the speeding traffic comes down from the north and yet the only ‘Slow Down’ sign has been placed to the south!), time and money-wasting, too much red tape.
“It’s been a classic case of the people at the top not listening to the heartfelt concerns and pleas of the people on the ground.
“I think HCC could have done far more far sooner but no one seemed to listen or take the concerns seriously until now. It’s awful.”
Cllr Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said in a statement: “I was very sorry to hear about this accident, and my thoughts are with the family and friends of the young man.
“The accident is now being investigated by the police and, as with all such incidents, will be the subject of an investigation by the Casualty Reduction Partnership (CRP) consisting of representatives from Hampshire County Council, Winchester City Council and Hampshire Constabulary.
“Once completed, we will consider the outcome of the investigation and the recommendations in the report.”
Winchester MP Steve Brine said: “We need hard facts now from what is a big police investigation and cool heads rather than conjecture, which is not helpful. We’ve been saying with one voice for some time now that ultimately this junction needs fundamental layout change but more than anything we have to bring down the speed of vehicles coming into and out of this space.
“Several years ago I brought the Transport Secretary to this spot and within seconds he labelled it a ‘nasty junction’. Nothing can make a road or a junction accident full-proof but our problems here at Kings Worthy are clearly far from resolved.
“As ever, I will work cross party with anyone to help.”