The Parish of St Helier has been accused of withholding information that would reveal why safety measures were never put in place on a road where a toddler was killed.
Three-year-old Clinton Pringle was run over on Tunnell Street as he crossed the road to Millennium Town Park.
But a report shown to Express, but never published publicly, showed that safety options including automatic rising bollards that would have restricted vehicle access to the area were being considered five years before the fatal accident. For reasons that remain unknown, however, they were never implemented.
Now exactly who was responsible for halting the safety measures has become the subject of dispute between the Parish of St Helier and the Department for Infrastructure.
In this week's States Assembly meeting, Deputy Geoff Southern probed the Minister for Infrastructure over whether Transport and Technical Services (TTS) – as his department was then known – had been responsible for making the decision and, if so, whether this had been linked with project costs.
Pictured: The Tunnell Street area where young Clinton lost his life was due to be kitted out with automatic rising bollards to restrict vehicle access to the area. It remains unclear who made the decision not to implement safety measures and why.
But the Minister, Deputy Eddie Noel, unequivocally denied that his department had been in charge of the roads surrounding the park. According to the Minister, it was always agreed that his department should handle the creation of the park, while the Parish took responsibility for its own roads. “They were the masters of their own destiny in this situation,” he commented.
The extent of TTS’ involvement with the roads, he said, was simply to provide the granite to be used as paving.
Deputy Noel provided correspondence to back-up his case. A 2011 email from the TTS Director of Infrastructure and Engineering addressed to St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft, who is Chairman of the Roads Committee, detailed their working relationship at the time:
“The Parish will fund all the remaining works in Robin Place and tunnel Street to include the laying of the granite, the street lighting and the rising bollard. We will arrange the transfer of the granite materials to your Parish yard in due course…”
Pictured: Emails exchanged between TTS and the Parish of St Helier over Tunnell Street safety plans.
While a later email from St Helier’s Director of Transport and Engineering Services later confirms their agreement to lay materials in Robin Place and Tunnell Street, it also highlights the tensions between the two departments over who should ultimately be responsible for the cost:
“The board were not supportive of paying for the rising bollard in Robin Place as they saw this as an integral part of the park project and this has not been budgeted for. Is this still around 40k? If you are insistent that the parish should fund this the constable and procureurs advise that they will have to take the matter to Parish Assembly for approval.”
Deputy Noel alleges that the Parish ended up taking the final decision, although this was never recorded in the public minutes. He told the Assembly that he has asked for the ‘B minutes’ detailing their decision, but that the Parish has refused to hand them over.
A formal inquest into the death of Clinton Pringle is due towards the end of this month.
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