A young Derbyshire couple lost two cats in just six months because of drivers constantly speeding along their road. Demitria Holland and Brendan Weston moved into their home in Park Drive, Ilkeston, in September last year and say they already dislike living in the road due to the 30mph route regularly being used as a “drag strip” by commuters.
Demi, 24, and Brendan, 21, sadly lost their cat Jovi in November last year, followed by Salem in February, with Jovi being hit by a van and Salem by another vehicle. They now have another cat, Moon, who they keep indoors for fear of losing another pet. Demi, who is from Ilkeston and is studying to become a vet, now fears for the safety of her eight-year-old brother who regularly visits their home, and other children who live along the picturesque road.
The couple’s fears come just weeks after a driver was arrested after she flipped her car by crashing into five other cars parked along the road. Software designer Brendan was woken by the incident, which happened at about 10pm on April 19, and helped to get the driver out of the vehicle, but said he was not surprised that the crash had happened due to how common speeding is in the area.
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Demi said: “It’s really sad because I remember coming to look at the house and one of the first things I thought when I was walking down the road is ‘oh my gosh, this is such a nice area’. I remember it being a really nice, sunny day and I thought ‘this looks perfect, this looks like exactly what we’re looking for’.
“Not long after we moved, that’s when everything started to come to light and it’s hard for us. Brendan hates it because of the speeding.
“Our pets were our children, they were our family and this is what made us kickstart the whole issue. It’s made us more concerned for young ones that live here, that’s the main worry, because there are a lot of children around here. It’s a prime family area, you’ve got two schools, a Morrisons, frequent buses. Everyone at first glance thinks it’s an amazing place to raise a family but everyone is upping and leaving.”
Brendan added: “I’ve already said I hate living here, I hate the area, because of this. I came here and a few weeks in, Jovi died, and he was like my best mate. Just as we were getting over that, Salem got hit and killed. You can tell from his collar, the speed he was hit. It was a pristine collar and now it is mangled and wrecked.”
Meanwhile, Demi and Brendan, who have been together for over two years, have tried to take a proactive stance in dealing with the issue, sending out flyers to neighbours to ask what solutions would be preferred to tackle the problem. Favoured solutions include a 20mph speed limit and the introduction of speed humps, while they have continued to send several videos of speeding cars caught with her own CCTV camera to authorities.
The pair discovered that residents have been trying to solve the problem since 2015, when one homeowner contacted the MP for the area, Maggie Throup, who has since been in contact with Derbyshire County Council. But despite the council pledging to trial a 20mph speed limit along the road, it later told Ms Throup that the trial was being dropped while residents in Park Drive continued to have near-misses with speeding cars.
According to the pair, three families have left the road since they moved in and have directly cited speeding as one of the key reasons behind their decisions. The issue is getting so bad it is now affecting the community spirit of the road, which Demi says was one of the key draws to the area.
She said: “We lived in Nottingham before and one thing we noticed here was how good the community is. We had all the neighbours saying welcome to Park Drive and wanting to get to know us. It’s so nice how, even though it’s such a small place, everyone wants to get to know you and wants to have that chat. It’s so friendly and nice.
“But with such a lovely road and such lovely people, it’s getting ruined because of the speeding. It’s quite shocking that it’s been going on for so long and yet still nothing has happened. It should be more proactive, not reactive to things like this.”
Suggesting why the road is such a speeding hotspot, Brendan said: “A lot of the neighbours have said it has got worse since Morrisons opened up, because you get a lot more traffic so Nottingham Road gets really backed up. I used to commute to work and basically every day I was late as traffic made my bus late. There’s a roundabout at the top of the road and if you cut through, you miss out all of the traffic.
“It’s a straight road. There are no bends, no bumps, no nothing. From right to the top all the way to the bottom, it’s around a quarter of a mile long. It’s the perfect drag strip.”
Demi added: “Somebody we spoke to said it was boy racers and it isn’t. It’s impatient drivers wanting to get home from work, who are late to work, or who are in a rush. People may not even realise they are going quite fast. There have been two accidents on the road, and both of these incidents which both saw cars overturned and cause damage to cars on the street could have been avoided if there were speed bumps.”
In response to an email sent by Demi, Derbyshire County Council said: “We receive many enquiries from concerned residents regarding collisions and requests to make roads safer throughout the county, we are sure you will understand that there has to be something in place that is ‘measurable’ with a number of collisions and to allow us and the police to determine where to target our resources.
“Given this understandable demand, a system of prioritisation must be employed which includes the interrogation of pertinent data, such as the number and severity of collisions which may have occurred at any requested location.
“Funds must therefore be directed to those roads where there is a history of reported injury collisions and where there is a trend in those collisions which allows us to identify a highway improvement scheme which will effectively reduce the number of collisions occurring.”