A Surrey mum who spends her school run worrying that a moment of "poor judgement" from her could lead to a serious accident is calling on councils to improve road safety.

Sarah Dickin walks her two children to school every day through thePirbrightArch which links the village withBrookwood, where she lives.

Mrs Dickin has started apetitioncalling on councillors to help make the road safer, because currently families are having to manage narrow pavements, blind corners and cars running red lights when taking their children to and from school.

Read more:The Surrey accident hotspot with over 50 collisions which will finally have speed cameras installed

She said she's worried that because the road lies on the borders of Woking and Guildford Borough Councils, it is seen as a "no man's land" and is not being addressed.

The added stress makes her think some days she should put her children in the car rather than do the 15-minute walk, and she said the only other route would take around twice as long and involve trying to get a buggy up around 20 steps via Brookwood train station.

She said: "Sometimes I just think should I actually just get in the car and drive? I worry about [the children's] safety and just think all it takes is poor judgement from me.

"Not seeing something when I'm trying to concentrate on the children [and] concentrate on all three directions of traffic, I just really worry.

"It really induces anxiety when you do it even on your own, let alone when you've got your children with you and you're trying to just get them safely to school.

"The school run's stressful enough anyway but when you add the tunnel to it, it takes you bit through the roof."

'If there's enough pressure, they have to do something about it'

Mrs Dickin used to work for the NHS as a clinical pharmacist, and is now a full-time mum.

Her petition has now gained more than 600 signatures, and she is keen to gain more to make the borough councils take notice.

She said: "I think the more support for it, the more they can't say: 'It's a Guildford problem, it's a Woking problem.'

"If there's enough pressure, they have to do something about it."

She said she's been in contact with both borough councils and asked representatives to come and see the site, as well as having conversations with Surrey Highways.

Mrs Dickin added: "It kind of falls under both borders which I think is why it's almost a no man's land, so everyone's kind of not addressed it."

The responsibility for roads is with Surrey County Council, though this issue has been discussed at the Guildford Borough Council joint committee, where it has been added to the list of projects bidding for funding from the county council.

The projects to be undertaken in the next year will be decided at the Guildford Joint Committee meeting in March.

Mrs Dickin is calling for a red light camera to be installed, because she says many people run the lights, especially in the morning when traffic is bad, making it even more dangerous.

She said: "All the mums who walk it, and everyone else who uses that route, know to wait a few seconds to let the cars run through on a red light so that you don't get caught in the middle of the road, which has happened."

Pirbright mums, kids and Pirbright Parish councillors Helen Myers and Elaine Eason, beside the Pirbright tunnel.
Pirbright mums, kids and Pirbright Parish councillors Helen Myers and Elaine Eason, beside the Pirbright tunnel.

The mum of two, who has lived in the area for more than ten years, spoke about the serious accident that happened further along Gole Road in 2015 when a five-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital, but said that any accidents or near misses in the area now are "usually not reported".

She said: "There's been a lot of near misses. But I think because people know how dangerous the route is [...] there's a lot of stuff that just gets passed through word of mouth and doesn't get formally reported."

What the councils say

Councillor Joss Bigmore, leader of Guildford Borough Council, said: "We are aware of residents' concerns on the Pirbright Tunnel area and making it safer for pedestrians.

"We will work with Surrey County Council, as the Highways Agency who are responsible for the tunnel, and neighbouring Woking Borough Council on this."

A Woking Borough Council spokesperson said: "Whilst located outside of the borough, we understand the safety concerns raised by many local residents about the highway tunnel, known locally as Pirbright Arch.

"Ensuring the safety of pedestrians is paramount, as well as keeping our local communities connected to each other.

"We welcome the news that this will be discussed by the Guildford Joint Committee and look forward to supporting Surrey County Council’s proposals, as the highway authority responsible for the tunnel."

Surrey County Council confirmed that improvements will be decide at the Guildford Joint Committee meeting in March.

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