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Baby struck on Hadleigh’s ‘dangerous’ Benton Street

13-week-old Theodore Burrough's was struck by a passing car while he was being carried by his mum along Benton Street. ANL-160504-170253001
13-week-old Theodore Burrough's was struck by a passing car while he was being carried by his mum along Benton Street. ANL-160504-170253001

A mother has warned that a busy road in Hadleigh is dangerous for pedestrians after her 13-week-old baby was struck by a passing car.

On March 8, Sophie Shutlar was walking along Benton Street while carrying her son Theodore in his car seat, when the wing mirror of a passing car struck the seat.

Although Theodore was unhurt and the driver stopped and apologised, it brought home how dangerous the road could be.

“It really shook me up, I was in tears,” said the 25-year-old. “It could have been a lot worse. It just shows how dangerous it is.

“It was an accident. It wasn’t really his fault, it’s just the road - it’s so narrow. He came so close to me his wing mirror hit the car seat.”

Miss Shutlar, who lives in Benton Street with her partner and two sons Theodore and Cole, two, believes the best solution would be for the road to become one-way.

The idea would force drivers coming into the town centre to go along Hook Lane.

“It’s too narrow, there’s a few points that cars bump up the pavement,” said Miss Shutlar.

“We want something to be done before something tragic happens.

“A lot of people on the road have young children. It could be that one day someone steps out of their front door and gets hit. There have been near misses.”

The mother-of-two blames the traffic problems on the number of new homes built, with a large volume of cars using the old, narrow road to access the A12 towards Colchester and Ipswich.

“They are building all of these homes without thinking about the consequences,” she said.

As well as cars coming into and out of the town, including heavy goods vehicles which are not legally allowed to use the road, there is on-road parking on Benton Street.

Drivers often have to mount the kerb to allow two lines of traffic to get past.

In the process a number of parked cars have been damaged, further infuriating the Benton Street residents.

“Cars are getting hit regularly,” said Miss Shutlar. “Drivers are having to go in and out of the parked cars. My car has been hit four or five times.”

Added to the damage is the ‘awful’ pollution, which is of particular concern to Miss Shutlar as she raises two young children.

After residents previously turned down the option of a chicane being put in, a spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We are still considering alternative ideas.

“Officers will be meeting with county councillors Brian Riley, Gordon Jones and James Finch, district councillor Kathryn Grandon and a representative from Hadleigh Town Council to discuss a further suggestion to stop vehicles driving on the pavement.”

Residents feel a chicane in the narrowest point of the road would cause traffic to back log and lead to more congestion.

Other ideas put forward by residents and councillors include a one-way system, a bypass and bollards.

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