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Bonhill mum too “terrified” to let boys play outside family home

A mum-of-three has told how speeding cars cutting corners outside their dream family home has left her too scared to let her boys out to play on their own.

When the Lennox Herald went to visit Laura McKeown and husband George at their Kingfisher Avenue property, we stood outside for less than five minutes and a car had already cut the corner, mounting the pavement in front of us.

The mum, who works as an out-of-hours community nurse, says she is in constant fear one of her children will be struck by a car or van as drivers fail to properly negotiate the roads within the Bonhill development.

She told us: “I am scared to let the kids out.

“I have got a 10-year-old, an eight-year-old as well as a four-year-old. The older boys need to be able to get out and play.

“The speed of the vans, especially delivery vans is terrifying.

“If I do let them out I am up and down checking on them all the time.”

The family moved into the Barratt Homes-built estate in 2018 and Laura says she has watched in horror since at the speed of motorists who rally around the street, which has no traffic calming measures on the McKeown’s stretch.

Laura said: “Initially when you buy a new house, they always say it’s going to be family friendly.

“I assumed they were going to have kerbs, slow down signs, speed bumps. All of the things they might have to make the street safer for the families staying there.

“I am a community out-of-hours nurse and when I am going around places in Renton, Haldane it’s just the norm to have these things.

“I didn’t think there would be an issue living on the corner with these in place. I remember talking to the site manager about my concerns.

“The council have said it meets the criteria and give you a spiel saying all of this technical terminology.”

Marketing material is still visible on the Barratt website which describes the site as a “development of three bed semi-detached, three-bed detached and four-bed detached homes, within easy reach of the A822, adding “ideal for both first-time buyers and families alike.”

The upper part of Laura’s street leads to a dead end which has chicanes and raised pavements but, where Laura is, there is no height distinction and no additional measures.

Bonhill mum too "terrified" to let boys play outside family home

She said: “All of the traffic goes up and comes down on the same side, my side. Going up, coming down, they cut the corner. There are no road markings, nothing to differentiate. It’s all flat.

“There are so many families around here, it’s lovely but you just worry about the children.

“It might not be my child who is knocked over but it could be somebody else’s. People walk up and down here with their dogs. They are in danger

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie was out at the site and was shocked to see the way the area had been designed.

She said: “I can’t understand how you can have a position where there’s no definition between the pavement and the road.

“I have been here and vans have been cutting the corner.

“There needs to be some distinction.

“If all they did was to raise the pavements, that would stop all the cars and vans cutting the corner.”

Laura says the issue could force them out of a home they thought they would spend a lifetime in.

She added: “Nobody’s wanting to claim liability and nobody wants to make it safe for us. We are getting to the point where we will move from here because of the way things are.”

“It’s a great house and it’s a great scheme but this issue just makes me not want to live here.

“We have even thought about putting something in ourselves but then we would be liable.

“I am just terrified. I was out playing when I was seven or eight, so should they be able to.”

David Scott, managing director, Barratt Developments West Scotland, said: “The roads across the Millfields development at Bonhill have been through a rigorous checking process.

“The area of concern relates to a feature courtyard with surrounding footpath. We have been really careful to ensure that this space is safe for both pedestrians and

“For example, the road is double the width of a standard road for vehicles and the flat top kerbing and different colour surfacing clearly mark where the road ends and footpath starts.”

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said the road adheres to current design and safety guidelines adding: “Any incidences of dangerous driving or speeding should be reported to Police Scotland.”

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