Mother slams Prince Charles for making U-turn on plan to paint first yellow lines in Poundbury

A grieving mother has criticised Prince Charles for making a U-turn on plans to paint the first yellow lines in his designer town.

Tina Cooper, 49, campaigned for the road safety markings to be installed where her 25-year-old son Richard Hallett died in a low-speed collision with a van in Poundbury, Dorset. 

Mrs Cooper was backed by her MP, Oliver Letwin, and a coroner who found the lack of markings had played a crucial part in the fatal crash.

Poundbury, near Dorchester, has been specifically designed by Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall with winding streets and blind bends to calm traffic instead of conventional stop signs and give way markings. 

Earlier this week the Duchy announced it was to break one of its design principles for Poundbury by painting yellow lines at the road junction – but Clarence House has since intervened.   

A spokesman for Prince Charles said the markings were not necessary and they would not be installed.

Tina Cooper, 49, campaigned for the road safety markings to be installed where her son Richard Hallett died in a low speed collision with a van

Tina Cooper, 49, campaigned for the road safety markings to be installed where her son Richard Hallett died in a low speed collision with a van

Tina Cooper, 49, campaigned for the road safety markings to be installed where her son Richard Hallett died in a low speed collision with a van

The Duchy of Cornwall announced it was to break one of its design principles for Poundbury in Dorset by painting yellow lines at the road junction - but Clarence House intervened and a spokesman for Prince Charles said the markings were not necessary

The Duchy of Cornwall announced it was to break one of its design principles for Poundbury in Dorset by painting yellow lines at the road junction - but Clarence House intervened and a spokesman for Prince Charles said the markings were not necessary

The Duchy of Cornwall announced it was to break one of its design principles for Poundbury in Dorset by painting yellow lines at the road junction – but Clarence House intervened and a spokesman for Prince Charles said the markings were not necessary

Mrs Cooper claimed that the Duchy’s continuing aversion to road signage and markings demonstrated they put ‘the prettiness of the town’ above saving lives.

She said: ‘It is ridiculous. Parked cars on the junction where Richard crashed made sight lines hard and they know that full well.

‘The truth is Prince Charles doesn’t want road furniture because he doesn’t want Poundbury to look like other towns with road signs at junctions.

‘The Duchy feel if they agree to doing this at one junction they’ll have to do it at all the danger spots in Poundbury.

‘It’s them putting the prettiness of the town above saving lives.

Mrs Cooper claimed that the Duchy's continuing aversion to road signage and markings demonstrated they put 'the prettiness of the town' above saving lives

Mrs Cooper claimed that the Duchy's continuing aversion to road signage and markings demonstrated they put 'the prettiness of the town' above saving lives

Mrs Cooper claimed that the Duchy’s continuing aversion to road signage and markings demonstrated they put ‘the prettiness of the town’ above saving lives

Pictured: The roads around Poundbury in Dorset without road markings or road signage

Pictured: The roads around Poundbury in Dorset without road markings or road signage

Pictured: The roads around Poundbury in Dorset without road markings or road signage

‘I cry every day thinking of my son. I will not stop until changes are made because parts of Poundbury are a death trap.

‘I would not wish any other mother to go through what I’ve been through.’  

On the Duchy website its states the ‘masterplan’ for Poundbury is to give pedestrians priority over cars with vehicles controlled without resorting to signage or traffic markings.

Mr Hallett was riding his motorcycle when he clipped the side of courier driver Andrew Bell’s Iveco van on September 14, 2018.

Mr Bell was looking for a customer and driving at low speed but when he arrived at a junction he found he had a poor line of sight.

On the Duchy website its states the 'masterplan' for Poundbury is to give pedestrians priority over cars with vehicles controlled without resorting to signage or traffic markings

On the Duchy website its states the 'masterplan' for Poundbury is to give pedestrians priority over cars with vehicles controlled without resorting to signage or traffic markings

On the Duchy website its states the ‘masterplan’ for Poundbury is to give pedestrians priority over cars with vehicles controlled without resorting to signage or traffic markings

Mr Bell was looking for a customer and driving at low speed but when he arrived at a junction he found he had a poor line of sight

Mr Bell was looking for a customer and driving at low speed but when he arrived at a junction he found he had a poor line of sight

Mr Bell was looking for a customer and driving at low speed but when he arrived at a junction he found he had a poor line of sight

As he pulled away he crashed with Mr Hallett who was thrown from his machine and suffered fatal head injuries.

Dorset Assistant Coroner Brendan Allen wrote to the Duchy of Cornwall following the inquest in June.

He wrote: ‘No vehicle would appear to have right of way, the risk of collision would appear to be increased. In my opinion urgent action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you and/or your organisation have the power to take such action.’

Mrs Cooper has been joined by Mr Letwin, the MP for West Dorset, in calling for the roads of Poundbury to be ‘adopted’ by the local council so they can be made ‘safe’.

Presently, most of the roads are controlled by the landowner, the Duchy of Cornwall, which has no obligation to introduce road traffic safety measures.

Mr Letwin said: ‘I have talked to Tina and I think there is a problem with road safety in Poundbury, as is demonstrated with the tragic incident involving her son.

‘I agree with her view that the roads in Poundbury which have not been adopted by the council need to be and I’ve asked the council to look again at that to speed the process up so that we can make these roads as safe as possible.

An aerial view of the roads around Poundbury in Dorset pictured without road markings or road signage

An aerial view of the roads around Poundbury in Dorset pictured without road markings or road signage

An aerial view of the roads around Poundbury in Dorset pictured without road markings or road signage

‘They need to be adopted quickly and properly regulated.’

Earlier this year the Royal National Institute of Blind People, whose patron is the Queen, described a shared space scheme in a square in Poundbury that has no traffic lights, kerbs, road markings or crossing points as an accident waiting to happen.

A spokesman for the Duchy initially said they would put down the double yellow lines in light of the ‘strength of feeling’ expressed by Mr Hallett’s family.

They said: ‘The Duchy of Cornwall will work with Dorset Council to install double yellow lines on the approach to the junction to remind road users of the need to comply with the highway code.’

But an updated statement from Clarence House said the Duchy will no longer be installing yellow lines as there would be ‘no real benefit’ of doing so.

A spokesperson said: ‘Having investigated the matter further with the Highways Department of Dorset Council, it became clear the key reasons for this tragic accident were not related to the highway design and there would be no real benefit of installing double yellow lines.

‘We have therefore taken the decision not to go ahead.’

The Duchy has submitted a proposal to Dorset Council to install two parking bollards on each approach, set back from the junction, to deter cars from parking.

Using a design created by master planner Leon Krier, the Duchy of Cornwall began construction on Poundbury in 1993.

It is due for completion in 2025 when it will have a population of around 5,000 people in 2,500 homes.

Link hienalouca.com

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