£10,000 scheme for road after tragic Natasha Whale death

Walsall | News | Published:

Up to £10,000 is set to be spent on improving safety on a Black Country street where a 13-year-old schoolgirl died when the car she was travelling in was involved in a crash with a coach.

More than 1,500 signatures have been collected on a petition calling for changes at the junction. Natasha Whale was pronounced dead at the scene after her mother's car and an Adams Tours coach carrying schoolchildren crashed at the junction on Valley Road and Ryle Street in Blakenall, Walsall.

After the tragedy on February 24, families in the area complained that no action had been taken on the back of their previous calls for safety measures at junctions across the Blakenall Heath estate.

The council has revealed that £10,000 has been allocated to improve the junction pending the outcome of a police investigation. And the issue will be discussed at a meeting of the council on Monday after enough signatures were collected to trigger a debate.

Bloxwich East councillors Kath Phillips and Julie Fitzpatrick mobilised residents, schools and businesses to collect the names within 48 hours following an outcry.

Councillor Phillips said: "The feeling in the area is that something needs to be done to improve road safety. We went out with a group of about 20 residents over the space of two days to distribute the petition and collect the signatures.

"They wore high-visibility jackets and were able to attract a lot of support from passing motorists. We were also supported by the schools and shops that took copies of the sheets.

"The crossroad at Valley Road and Ryle Street is fairly wide, but is not aligned straight. We're hoping it would be ideal for an island."

Natasha, a Walsall Academy pupil, had been a rear seat passenger when the car driven by her mother Shelley and school coach collided.

Mrs Whale, aged 45, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital. Natasha's brother Callum, aged 17, who was also in the car, has since been discharged.

The coach driver and seven passengers heading to Shelfield Academy in Pelsall were unhurt.

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