Call for action as 11-year-old is hit by car at blackspot in Farlington

(l-r) Abigail Devlin, Andrew Devlin and Catherine Devlin. Abigail was hit by a car while walking to school. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141873-307)
(l-r) Abigail Devlin, Andrew Devlin and Catherine Devlin. Abigail was hit by a car while walking to school. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141873-307)

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CAMPAIGNERS have repeated calls for a pedestrian crossing at a notorious traffic blackspot after a girl was hit by a car on her way to school.

Solent Junior pupil Abi Devlin, 11, was hit when crossing Havant Road, next to the Farlington Avenue junction, in Farlington, Portsmouth.

She was walking with her 14-year-old sister, Catherine, who pulled her out of the road after the accident happened at 8.47am yesterday.

The girls’ dad, Andrew Devlin, said he was shaking after he got the call and rushed to the scene, not knowing if Abi was okay.

He said: ‘I was just hoping she was all right and hoping she was not dead.

‘That’s the sort of thing that goes through your head.

‘But when I saw she was not covered in blood and was talking, I was relieved.’

Abi was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham with some cuts and bruises and was allowed to go home in the afternoon.

The girls’ mum, Sara Dedman, was shocked when she heard what happened.

She said: ‘It’s not a very nice phone call to get saying that your daughter’s been hit by a car. It was horrible.’

Parents have been asking for years for a pedestrian crossing to be installed at the busy junction, which is crossed every day by scores of children going to and from Solent infant and junior schools.

Earlier this month, another parent, Simon Thornton, handed in a petition with more than 600 signatures calling for a crossing to be installed by Portsmouth City Council.

Mr Devlin said the accident could have been much worse.

He said: ‘There really does need to be something done there before there’s a more serious accident.

‘I’d like to see that it doesn’t happen again to my daughter or anyone else’s daughter.’

Parent Phillip Robinson said there had been many close shaves at the junction.

He said: ‘What needs to happen before the council come in and do something?

‘It’s just ridiculous.’

Councillor Ken Ellcome is a ward councillor for the area and cabinet member for traffic and transportation.

He said the council was looking into making the junction safer.

He said: ‘I was sorry to hear about the accident and I wish the young girl a full recovery.

‘Road safety is of paramount importance to us and as a council we are committed to improving this wherever we can.

‘As a ward Councillor and cabinet member for traffic and transportation the petition had been brought to my notice.

‘I had already asked officers to look at finding a solution using the existing signal system.

‘Our transport officers are currently exploring the options available to us.’

The council’s assistant head of service for transport, Marc Griffin, said: ‘I was also very sorry to hear the news about the accident and do hope the young girl makes a speedy recovery.

‘We have received and are in the process of verifying the petition and in the meantime we are investigating the options and designs for incorporating a traffic crossing at the junction.’

Families left waiting for junction to be made safer

PARENT Simon Thornton said he started campaigning for a pedestrian crossing at the junction of Havant Road and Farlington Avenue years ago, and finally handed in his petition to Portsmouth City Council earlier this month.

Mr Thornton, from Drayton, said he was told the council would let him know within 10 days what they planned to do about the issue, but has since heard nothing from the authority.

He said he was told the council wanted the details of the petitioners, but that 38 Degrees, the website that administered the petition online, was reluctant to pass on personal details on privacy grounds.

Mr Thornton was relieved yesterday’s accident involving Abi Devlin was not more serious.

He said: ‘It was bound to happen at some point.

‘It’s just proved that we do need to have a crossing there.’

The petition can be found at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/havant-road-crossing-1.