Coroner asks for change to 'four deaths before action' rule to make improvements to road where young mother Danielle Broadhead, 33, was killed

Highways chiefs in Kirklees have been urged to abandon restrictive rules that determine when safety measures can be introduced on danger roads.

Barnsley Road, Flockton

The call comes after a coroner asked the authority to consider action to prevent future deaths on the A637 Barnsley Road at Flockton, near Wakefield, after a young mum was killed and her two children injured.

Martin Fleming, senior coroner for West Yorkshire, sent a Regulation 28 report to prevent future deaths to the director of roads and highways of Kirklees Council following the death last year of Danielle Broadhead.

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Ms Broadhead, 33, lost control when her car clipped the kerb on a sweeping left-hand bend where a grass verge ends and a pavement begins. Her car collided with a tree.

She died and her two sons, aged seven and 22 months at the time, were injured and taken to Leeds General Infirmary.

The coroner’s comments have led to a renewed appeal from long-time campaigners for better safety measures.

Conservative councillor Bill Armer’s Kirkburton ward includes Flockton. He and colleagues have had what he describes as “a 10-year discussion” with council staff over the state of the road.

However he is frustrated at the response of highways officers who, he says, are sticking to West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership’s approach to road safety.

He said: “Essentially that they will not act proactively and will only consider action if there have been four fatal or ‘serious’ accidents on a stretch of road in recent years.

“I appreciate that there are cost implications, but I object to this ‘no deaths, no action’ policy. To me it appears to be an indefensible position. They are putting money ahead of lives.”

Kirklees Council did not respond directly to Coun Armer’s comments but a senior officer said the authority was considering its response to the coroner’s report.

Coun Armer has been at the forefront of a campaign for a bypass for Flockton village, which is regularly clogged with traffic and has witnessed several accidents in recent years.

However Kirklees Council has refused to countenance the idea despite ever-growing support from locals.

Now he says the coroner’s request, which gives the council until June 10 to explain what steps will be taken or why no action is proposed, has once again highlighted the dangers of the A637.

He added: “We need more proactivity. Rather than waiting for another accident if there is an obvious danger it should be dealt with rather than hiding behind these guidelines.

“I understand that they have got budgetary restraints. Everybody has. But they seem to have abolished proactivity. It comes across as an unwillingness to act.

“They have been using that argument for years. Officers are saying they need four deaths. Its disgraceful.”

Kirklees Council’s strategic director for environment and climate change, Colin Parr, said: “Kirklees Council can confirm receipt of the report from the coroner.

“Ensuring the safety of all road users is a priority for the council and the report will be closely reviewed by our Highways Road Safety Team to determine our response.

“We would like to take this opportunity to offer our condolences to the family at this difficult time.”