Farmer 'end of his tether' after property turns into crash hot-spot

Knutsford Guardian: Peter at the scene of the latest crash on January 18 Peter at the scene of the latest crash on January 18

A 69-year-old farmer fears his life is being put in jeopardy after five cars smash on to his property in just one month.

Peter Crawford, from Ashley Road, has reached ‘the end of his tether’ after enduring a 40-year history of cars crashing into his fences, hedges, shed and garden, racking up thousands of pounds of damage.  

The latest incident in the early hours of January 18 saw a vehicle smash into a telegraph pole which, in turn, sliced through Peter’s fence and landed in his garden.

After spending years paying for and carrying out repairs, Peter said he is ‘too old and lost heart’ and is calling for something to be done.

Peter said: “I don’t want to move but I’m at the point of how much more can I put up with?  It’s not just a case of losing out on the money; the danger to my life has to be considered. 

“I don’t sleep well.  I will go to bed at night and I just find myself listening for sounds.  I’m listening for tyres and brakes. I just get the feeling nobody is interested; everybody seems to be pushing things away.”

Peter moved to the farmhouse with his wife Jane and their three children in 1972 when Peter got a job as a farm foreman on the Ashley Hall estate. 

Jane, who died of kidney cancer four years ago, took charge of Ashley School, now known as Sunnyside Nursery, and the business is now run by their daughter.   

“We have a really deep connection to the village.  I love it here and cannot envisage being anywhere else – it is just this little spoiler,” he said. 

Peter said cars crashing onto the property have been a problem from the day he moved in - an average of seven or eight ‘notifiable’ crashes a year - but said that it has become increasingly worse since a hedge directly across from his house was cleared away.

Whereas the hedge forced motorists to slow down on the sharp bend, Peter said the new layout encourages drivers to maintain a high speed as they can see round the corner more clearly. 

Peter said that the only solution to the problem would be if the Highways Agency installed a motorway barrier.

“It is the only thing that would be effective.  But the answer they give is no as it would divert any cars that crash into oncoming traffic.  I can’t see why the Highways can’t be more proactive and do something about it,” he added.

It is not just the cars that are a constant worry for Peter – it is the people inside them.

He said: “When this happens it’s nearly always at night and you never know whether to go out or not.  You never know who’s in the car and what they are prepared to do to get away. 

“I weigh it up from that point of view – how far do you go to get a registration number?

“I just feel so vulnerable.”

Peter does have support from the community, however, and Ashley Parish Council has written to Cheshire East Council outlining Peter’s plight. 

Discussions with Cheshire East Council are on ongoing.

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