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Trees at accident spot to be cut down

Road-side trees involved in fatal accidents will be cut down as soon as possible.

The decision was taken after discussion between Staffordshire County Council’s head of Highways Helen Fisher, local county councillor Mark Winnington and representatives of Bradley, Derrington, Gnosall and Haughton parish councils.

The trees, near the Villa Cattery on the A518 between Stafford and Newport, have been the scene of fatal accidents, including one this year.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Councillor for the Gnosall and Doxey division, said:

We are not prejudging any police reports, or any recommendations that the Coroner may make, but we have decided to take action.

We have checked the quality of the road surface in the area, monitored the average speed and we firmly believe the A518 is safe.

Nonetheless it’s time to act and, after discussions with cabinet colleagues, I will use money from the fund allocated to me as a county councillor to make this happen as soon as possible.”

With the agreement of Gnosall Parish Council, at a meeting arranged today by Councillor Winnington, it was agreed that several replacement trees would be planted on parish council land in the village.

Gail Gregory, Chairman of Gnosall Parish Council, said:

It was a very productive meeting, despite being called due to tragic recent events.

All the parish council representatives present recognised that the possible causes of accidents at this site are many and varied, but we also agreed that the position of the trees made it highly unlikely for an accident there to be survived.

Therefore to avoid future situations like this, we were all of the view that the trees should be removed.”

Helen Fisher, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Transport and Highways, said:

Staffordshire has one of the safest road networks in the country and we are passionate about keeping it that way.

We spend millions of pounds each year on maintaining our highways, but when there are accidents we liaise with the police and the Coroner to see what can be learned.

However in this case it makes sense to act now and that Councillor Winnington is using the money that each member gets to spend on priorities in their division.”