‘Children’s lives at risk’

A GROUP of angry ratepayers has proved people power is alive and well after convincing Tamworth Regional Council to rethink the roll-out of a major change to their street.

WRONG WAY, GO BACK: Manilla Rd residents, from left, Joy Everett, James Armstrong, with Kobee, Tony Strange, Julie Thompson, Margaret Fanker, Janelle Strange, Dianne Dewbery, Lorraine O’Neill and Kristen Hansen are up in arms over changing traffic conditions in their street. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 030614GOB01

WRONG WAY, GO BACK: Manilla Rd residents, from left, Joy Everett, James Armstrong, with Kobee, Tony Strange, Julie Thompson, Margaret Fanker, Janelle Strange, Dianne Dewbery, Lorraine O’Neill and Kristen Hansen are up in arms over changing traffic conditions in their street. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 030614GOB01

Shocked residents on Manilla Rd at Oxley Vale contacted The Leader last week after learning their narrow service road was switching from one-way to two-way.

The first any of the homeowners knew about the change was when they approached council workers amending the signs one morning to ask what they were doing.

Not only are many of the street’s residents peeved they were not consulted, but claim the change would create a raft of safety concerns that could put children’s lives at risk.

A baffled Julie Thompson said the road was only about 5.5m wide and with many of the street’s residents parking on the kerb, there was no way two cars could squeeze through at once.

She also argued that the road was a thoroughfare for students walking and riding between the nearby school and subdivisions in the area.

“I just don’t understand it, I really don’t,” she said. 

“Where are two cars going to go? You’ve got people reversing out of driveways and children going to and from school.

“We have a bend in the road, which is a blind spot. On weekends there can be five cars parked on the bend there and you can’t see a thing.

“It would have been nice to have had a letter to let us know what is happening.”

Fellow resident Tony Strange said he was equally confused over why the change, endorsed by the council with little fanfare in October last year, was deemed necessary.

“The amount of kids who walk along this road makes it just a bit dicey sometimes,” he said. “I honestly think someone has just completely stuffed up.”

When The Leader put the residents’ worries to council, it acted swiftly to suspend the roll-out and resolved to seek clarification from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

“After looking into residents’ concerns, it appears there is a potential issue that needs to be clarified by the RMS between their design of the Manilla Rd stage three upgrade and their request about the access to the service road off Manilla Rd and north of Orley Drive,” said council’s director of regional services, Peter Resch.

“There will be no changes made to the use of the service road until the issue is clarified by the RMS.”

The Leader contacted the RMS for a response and was told a statement would be provided in the coming days.

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