Residents up in arms over Memsie accident blackspot

Accident blackspot: Grampian Fire and Rescue had to use cutting gear to free the occupants of the Vauxhall Meriva. picture: Alison Kennedy
Accident blackspot: Grampian Fire and Rescue had to use cutting gear to free the occupants of the Vauxhall Meriva. picture: Alison Kennedy

Residents of Memsie are up in arms at the failure of Aberdeenshire Council to take appropriate action and make Memsie crossroads, an accident black-spot, safer.

The latest accident which took place on Tuesday morning at approximately 8.40am involved two Vauxhall Meriva cars and four people.

The damage caused by the last accident less than a month ago has still to be repaired. picture: Alison Kennedy

The damage caused by the last accident less than a month ago has still to be repaired. picture: Alison Kennedy

Speaking to the Herald, one witness said: “We were woken at about 8.40 am by a very loud bang and thought oh no, not again.”

Residents of Memsie are angry at the council’s failure to reduce the speed limit and make the crossroads safer following years of campaigning.

One couple, who did not wish to be named, explained how they had witnessed numerous accidents in only a few years.

They said: “In the last few years we have witnessed at least a dozen accidents including a fatality a couple of years ago.

“The residents have all been campaigning for a reduction in the speed limit for years. We have attended meetings organised by the council on road safety, many have written to Stewart Stevenson our MSP and some have even spoken to the First Minister Alex Salmond about it.

“In a response to a letter from Mr Stevenson, the council claimed that there was not a problem at the crossroads, we actually received a copy of this letter on the morning of an accident when a woman was killed.

“How many fatalities is it going to take before something is done?”

The latest accident involved two men and two women in each car. It is understood that the female victims are mother and daughter. Police, ambulance and fire crews with cutting gear were called to the scene, and the casualties were trasferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for treatment. None of their injuries are believed to be life threatening.

Commenting on the latest events, John and Aileen Buchan, who own Memsie Garage said: “It is sad to see another accident at the crossroads.

“We have both been involved in campaigning for a reduction in the speed limit for over 12 years but have been told by the council that it can’t be reduced, although we weren’t given any reason for this.

“As the village grows there are more families with children moving here. We have three children of our own and it is very worrying when they go to catch the school bus or go from our house to the garage.

“It is an extremely busy road that has a lot of heavy goods vehicles and buses on it throughout the day, 5 mph is too fast. It is appalling that nothing has been done.”

Commenting, local MSP Stewart Stevenson said: “Clearly, this will be of particular concern to those living close by the junction. I understand there have been a number of accidents at this location in the past and I will be asking Aberdeenshire Council to review the accident reports on this, and previous incidents, to see if there are any common characteristics.”

Memsie crossroads has, over the years, been the location of several fatalities including that of a former reporter with the Fraserburgh Herald, Marla Cornel Bramhall.

Council records show that a total of ten accidents have been reported to the police in 15 years with the estimated volume of traffic in that period at that location of 2.5 million.

Travelling from Rathen on the B9032 the speed limit is reduced to 40mph just before the first house, the junction that crosses the A981 is a Give Way, however confusingly at the other side of the crossroads it is a stop sign.

Travelling from Fraserburgh to Strichen on the A981 the limit is 50mph.

A spokeswoman from Aberdeenshire Council said: “We are currently reviewing speed limits at the crossroads. We have discussed issues at the site with local residents who we will meet with again to discuss the site following a request from local councillors. The results from this process will assist in the identification of any additional road safety measures which may be appropriate.

“There are many reasons accidents occur and some may also not have been reported. Since 2005, there have been five reported accidents and in 2009 remedial measures included moving a phone pole and overgrown hedging to improve visibility at the junction as well as the construction of a short footway. We work closely with Grampian Police to look at the causes of accidents and the prevention of future accidents including work on the education of drivers who we urge to behave responsibly driving on rural roads.”