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Safety plea - historic structure causing concern at junction

The sculpture incorporating the historic weir at the junction of Rochdale Road and Longfield Road, Todmorden, which safety campaigners feel is unsafe

The sculpture incorporating the historic weir at the junction of Rochdale Road and Longfield Road, Todmorden, which safety campaigners feel is unsafe

Safety campaigners are urging the relocation of a heritage feature they believe puts pedestrian safety at risk.
Members of Todmorden Accident Prevention Council say the structure, at Fielden’s Square’s junction with Longfield Road and the main Rochdale Road, obscures motorists’ view of pedestrians using the dropped kerb to cross Longfield Road.

They have written to Calderdale Council urging the structure, which contains a historic mill weir uncovered and restored while flood alleviation work was being undertaken by the Environment Agency, is moved.
The 200-year-old weir was once used to power the former Fielden’s Waterside Mill by regulating the flow from Walsden Water through mechanical sluice gate structures via a mill race and once fed a water wheel on the site of what is now Morrisons supermarket.

Its removal, restoration and resiting from the site where it was found, near Back Waterloo cottages, to Fielden Square was done in consultation with a number of local interested parties.

But the Accident Prevention Council argue the structure “prevents motorists from seeing pedestrians from certain positions.”

In a letter to Calderdale Council, Mr Derrick Kershaw, secretary of Todmorden Accident Prevention Council, said on behalf of its members: “The failure of Calderdale Council to remove this structure at the earliest opportunity before a serious, indeed fatal collision, occurs at this location is a failure to ensure a safer environment for pedestrians.”

They have asked if the structure could be moved closer to Shade.

But response to the concerns, Calderdale Council’s Head of Planning and Highways, Geoff Willerton, said: “As part of the third phase of the Environment Agency’s Todmorden Flood Alleviation Scheme, the cast iron sluice structure from the weir at Shade was moved to Fielden Square, where it is now a heritage feature due to its historic significance.

“After consultation with local interested parties, including Todmorden Civic Society, town councillors and residents, it was agreed that the site at Fielden Square would best house the structure at a gateway point into the town.

“No suitable site at Shade could be identified.

“We take road safety very seriously and will investigate the concerns.”

At its August meeting following exchange of correspondence about the issue, which has also been discussed by Todmorden Town Council, the safety watchdog was sticking to its view that the struicture could prove dangerous to pedestrian safety.

The weir structure is a historic reminder of Todmorden’s development as a cotton town through the 19th century and of great historical significance.

When uncovered, the EA were asked if they could make a heritage weir using some of the existing stone and put it in an appropriate location as a monument to the industrial past. It was unveiled last year.

- Do you think the structure’s siting is dangerous? Email your views to todnews@todmordennews.co.uk

 

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