28 Jul 2011

LOCAL RIDERS PROTEST FOR HORSE CROSSING AT A127 JUNCTION


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Local riders and access campaigners gathered to protest for a Pegasus Crossing at a recent award ceremony today, right at the sight of the A1127/Progress Road junction, in Southend, Essex.
On the 18th of July at around 12:30 Southend Council received an award for their recent Progress Road junction, which includes several pedestrian crossings. This presentation to the council was crashed by local riders all wearing florescent vests and riding gear, because the council have failed to provide any safe means of crossing the road for horse riders.
Southend Council win a Government Street Award - but where's the Pegasus Crossing?

Among the local riders, there were members of local equestrian organisations, including a member of the British Horse Society – Marlene Curtis BHS Essex, AABO – who was helping  local riders protest for a pegasus crossing.
Marlene Curtis BHS Essex, AABO protest for a safer crossing

The local equestrian community involved in the protest strongly believe that the A127 needs to provide a pegasus crossing in order for riders to cross the road safely. Riders of all ages attended the protest, proving how vital a pegasus crossing is for the whole riding locality. The riders varied quite dramatically in age – the youngest stood at thirteen years old and the eldest was an amazing eighty-one years old.
Jenny Goodchild, one of the protestors, described how she was able to cross the road safely twenty-five years ago. Jenny went on to describe the road now as being “dangerous and a disaster waiting to happen.” Jenny keeps her horse at a local farm and  is outraged that she is unable to cross the road safely in order to go for a hack around the local bridleways at Oakwood Park and Hockley Woods.
Jenny Goodchild - Demonstrating the absence of a Pegasus Crossing

Among the protestors were two young girls who gave up their time in order to protest for the pegasus crossing. Nineteen-year-old Gemma keeps her pony stabled at Lower Wyburn Farm, and the crossing would provide her with safe access to Oakwood park for hacking. Gemma describes the alternative the council have provided for the crossing to be “completely unsafe for both riders and horses.” Gemma went on to describe how she used to work at Belfairs Riding School and how it was an “extremely dangerous place to cross the road.” The second of the young girls thirteen-year-old Victoria also gave up her time in order to protest for a safe alternative to cross the chaotic A127. Victoria also keeps her pony stabled at Wyburns and believed the crossing to have caused “even more chaos at rush hour than there was before.” Victoria went on to describe how she used to hack her pony along the road, but now she wouldn’t even dream of doing it.
Protestors include riders from Wyburns Farm (From right to left) - Tracey Cooper, Victoria and Gemma

Marlene Curtis BHS Essex, AABO organized this protest at the presentation of the local Government street design award in order to try and get Southend Councillors to realize how the pedestrian crossing provides improvements for everyone except for local horse riders. Marlene, who has opened thirty-nine bridle paths across Essex, hopes to get her message across that a safe horse crossing from The Fairway to/from Oakwood Park is still needed. Marlene is fully aware of the chaos involved with the new pedestrian crossing and believes that the pegasus crossing would provide more safety for drivers as well as local riders.
Marlene added, “it will take a horse and rider to get hurt for the council to take any notice of how dangerous the pedestrian crossing is.”
Although Marlene hasn’t managed to convince all of the Council yet she has successfully managed to team up with three members of Southend council. Trevor Byford, Steve Aylen and Chris Walker all understand the damage the pedestrian crossing could cause to local riders and drivers.
Trevor Byford reassuringly described how ‘they are still fighting from within.’ Steve Aylen believed that the protest was not a waste of time and that “we are getting somewhere.” However many members of the Southend Council still believe the crossing to be extremely successful. One of the councillors was heard to say that a pegasus crossing could have a negative effect on the businesses in the area.

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