Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 14:17 UK

Anger over 'invalid' speed signs

Ellen Hendry
Mrs Hendry died hours after a petition was handed in

The family of a pensioner killed on a busy road have reacted angrily to the news that speed limit signs in their village are "invalid".

Ellen Hendry, 81, was hit by a Suzuki Swift on the A690 near her home in Brancepeth, County Durham, in November.

Villagers have since been told that the road's 40mph signs are "advisory" and the actual speed limit is 60mph.

Durham County Council said it was reviewing the situation. Mrs Hendry's daughter said she was "appalled".

'Technicality'

A statement from the council said: "The police did make us aware that the speed limit signs do not correspond with the existing traffic order.

"But as the whole question of a speed limit through the village was under review, we decided to wait until these matters were resolved.

"However, enforcing the 40mph limit through Brancepeth has never been as issue, as our traffic surveys have shown that the average speed of vehicles using the road is 35mph.

"Nevertheless, in view of this technicality becoming public knowledge, we shall be taking immediate steps to see what can be done to prevent motorists from taking advantage of the situation until the current speed limit review is resolved."

Hours before Mrs Hendry's death, villagers handed in a petition calling for the limit to be reduced from 40mph to 30mph.

Mrs Hendry's daughter, Jaqueline Bottomley, said: "I'm absolutely appalled, I can't believe the signs that say 40mph mean absolutely nothing.

"If the council knew that they should have done something about it."

Mrs Hendry was making her way back to her sheltered accommodation in Russell Close when she was struck.

The driver, a 40-year-old man from the Weardale area, was unhurt.



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