Police to target Sutton ‘rat-runners’

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POLICE are targeting motorists who are making Sutton residents’ lives a misery by using their street as a dangerous rat run.

Willowbridge Lane is used as a short cut by motorists eager to save time, even though part of it is access only.

Residents fear an accident will happen because there is no pavement on the narrowest parts of the lane, forcing pedestrians into the road.

They claim there have been a number of near-accidents and incidents of damage to parked cars caused by other motorists.

Kirsty Evans - chairman of the Alfreton Road Area Residents Association, the group fighting for the road to be made safer - said it had been a problem for a number of years.

“This has been going round and round for a long time,” she said.

“The lane is very, very narrow and we are worried that the lack of space and the speed at which the motorists fly down the lane is going to get someone killed.”

Willowbridge Lane resident Richard Black, who is disabled, said he was concerned about the speed vehicles travelled down the narrow road.

“Some of the gardens go straight out on to the road and I’m worried someone is going to walk out into a speeding car.”

Insp Andy Clarke, of Nottinghamshire Police, said the residents should not have to endure the situation.

“We know from monitoring the flow of traffic along the lane that around one vehicle per minute uses it as a cut-through route, so we’ve been working with the residents and the county council to stop the misuse of the road and prevent a potential accident.

“We will be patrolling the area around the road in the coming weeks and will be issuing letters to anyone found using the road illegally.

“That letter will advise them that the police will issue fixed penalty notices to prosecute.

“In addition, we will assess the impact that this action has had on illegal use of the lane.

“We’ll do that not just by monitoring the response of motorists to this warning but also by encouraging feedback from the residents to determine whether the situation really has improved for them.”

But residents are keen for the traffic problems to end and some of them have called on Nottinghamshire County Council to pay for a gating scheme to stop motorists from using the road illegally.

Said Ms Evans: “We are looking at the automatic bollards which can raise or lower into the ground.”

Nottinghamshire county councillor Michelle Gent said county council cash had been allocated to pay for a gating scheme on the road, but had been withdrawn when Labour took charge in 2009.

Coun Gent said she had offered cash from her own fund to help pay for the scheme.

“I have been in touch with Richard Jackson (Nottingamshire County Council portfolio holder for transport and highways) on several occassions and I am keen to get this resolved for the residents as soon as possible.”

Anyone who would like to contact Nottinghamshire Police about the rat run can contact the Sutton Central Beat Team on 0300 3009999.