Council declared dangerous Highbury road layout a success days before it was ripped up following latest accident

Cllr Julie Horten

Cllr Julie Horten - Credit: Archant

A dangerous road layout which was ripped up last week following the latest in a long line of accidents was declared a success by the council just a week earlier.

Islington Council leader Catherine West ordered the removal of the much-maligned width restriction in Drayton Park, Highbury, two hours after an American tourist turned her car over at the accident hotspot last Friday.

But just a few days before, the council published a report stating that the layout was “successful” and should be “maintained”.

The document said the town hall were not aware of ambulances attending any of the accidents and that “it is the duty of motorists to take due care and attention while traversing through”.

Julie Horten, the Lib Dem councillor who represents Highbury East which covers the width restriction, said: “One minute the council say it’s perfectly safe and it’s not going anywhere and the next minute they’re ripping it up. It’s been a total farce from day one.”

Since the layout was installed last May, at least three cars have flipped over on it, with one local shopkeeper saying there were minor accidents every other day. In September it was pulled out and rebuilt – but the council forgot to amend the accompanying traffic order, which resulted in it having to pay back more than £500,000 to drivers issued with PCN’s declared invalid. Another modification was made in April this year, costing almost £130,000.

But despite the huge sums spent on the scheme, Cllr West admitted enough was enough following Friday’s accident.

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She said: “Sometimes as a council you make mistakes and this has been a mistake. The fact there has been another accident here is very worrying for me.

“We need to make sure lives are not at risk. One accident is too many. The money pales into insignificance compared to people’s safety.“