Hurst couple left feeling vulnerable after vehicle hits their home

A Hurst resident whose old cottage started ‘shaking’ after being hit by a vehicle is calling for a reduction in the speed limit and the implementation of traffic calming measures on Church Hill.

Robert Stothard and his partner Diane Pilgrim were in bed on the night of Monday, August 30 when Robert said he heard a car travelling up Church Hill ‘quite fast’.

He said the pair were already conscious about speeding cars as their front garden fencing had been hit on 12 previous occasions, but this time they heard a big ‘thud’ as their home was hit, leaving it shaking.

Robert then looked out his window but saw no car there.

The 63-year-old said the driver seemed to have ‘lost control’, came through the neighbouring cottage’s gate, through their dividing fence and ‘side slapped’ his cottage – leaving a ‘blue’ trace of paint, before driving straight out through his gate.

As well as the broken fencing, some of the wall of the cottage was scratched and cracked, and the cement plaster was left with a 12ft crack. Glass also came out of the windows and display cabinets and shattered.

Robert, who described the incident as a ‘great shock’, said: “We normally take notice of speeding cars, of screechy wheels but we are taking more notice now, and even when we go to sleep at night, we hear a fast car, we are just holding our breath to see if it actually makes it past our house. So it does put us on edge and we have suffered a little bit because of it.

“We’ve never been physically hit before, close but never been physically hit and now we have, we feel exceptionally vulnerable.”

Robert called the current speed limit of 60mph on Church Hill ‘ridiculous’.

He said that the road, which has no pavements and is like a ‘little chicane’ due to its bends, is ‘dangerous’ and people get a ‘racing track vibe’ when they go through the area.

Robert said residents have been campaigning for years and are calling for the speed limit to be reduced and for traffic calming measures such as a one-way system to be implemented.

He said: “Until there’s a fatality, I don’t think anything is going to happen.”

Robert added that a petition signed by almost 500 people was previously presented to Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) and resulted in signs and road markings being put on the road to try and tackle the problem.

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways at WBC, said: “We are aware of the crash on Church Hill, Hurst in August.

“We are currently waiting on the police to finish their investigations and cannot comment until we receive the police report.

“We recently introduced a traffic calming scheme on this road that includes new road markings and advance warning signs, as well as cut back foliage to increase visibility.

“The road is subject to the national speed limit, but average speeds on this section are below 25 miles per hour due to the road layout. Thames Valley Police are responsible for enforcing speed limits.”

A spokeswoman from Thames Valley Police, said: “The investigation has been filed pending further information coming to light.”

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