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Southend Council under fire after rejecting calls for pegasus crossing

A row has sprung up over a council’s refusal to fit a horse-friendly crossing point across the busy A127 in Leigh, Essex.

Pegasus crossing points are similar to pedestrian crossings but for horses, with a holding area on either side of the road and often in the central reservation. “Wait” buttons are positioned within easy mounted reach and the little green man is a horse and rider symbol.

“The council is prepared to put in a crossing for cyclists and walkers, but not for the hundreds of riders who use the area,” said Marlene Curtis, of the Essex branch of the British Horse Society.

But Southend Council claims the site does not fulfil the technical requirements for such a crossing. Major hurdles, says the council, are that the volume of traffic is 50,000 vehicles a day on the A127 — the maximum suitable for a Pegasus is 25,000 they say — and that there is insufficient land available for horse holding areas.

“There’s definitely enough land,” said Mrs Curtis. “There are fields on one side and a wood on the other, both owned by the council. The volume of traffic may be large, but a Pegasus crossing has just been built on the A3, one of the busiest roads into London.”

Paul Mathieson is transport manager at Southend Council.

He said: “It’s unfair to say it would be easy and the council is being obstructive. We’d love to help, but everything I’ve seen precludes a Pegasus crossing.

“If there is evidence that the proposed crossing meets Department for Transport [DfT] guidelines, then we’d be happy to put the case to the DfT.”

He said a bridge or underpass would be a feasible solution, but would exceed the available budget.

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