A pensioner who was fined £130 after painting a zebra crossing on a busy road outside his home has claimed his local council took 18 months to paint out their own markings – and they’re not as good as his own DIY efforts.
Laurie Phillips painted six white rectangular blocks across the road that he and his disabled wife struggled to cross outside their home in the quaint village of Mudeford, Dorset, in August 2020.
The 79-year-old had grown fed up with his repeated requests to install a crossing near to his house going unanswered by town hall officials.
The retired psychotherapist got up at 5am and spent several hours putting down the markings at a dropped kerb, but it was washed away four days later by council staff.
Mr Phillips was summoned for a police interview over allegations of criminal damage, and was eventually fined £130 for the ordeal.
But 18 months after his initial complaints, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council painted their own three ‘slow’ signs on the road.
Mr Phillips claims their signs are less effective than his homemade zebra crossing because they’re not as visible and most motorists ‘ignore them’.
He insists his makeshift crossing, as well as his fake 10mph sign and illusionary speed ramps, were all respected by motorists who stopped to let people cross, making the area ‘dramatically safer’ for pedestrians.
‘It is just ironic that they washed away the signs that I made, saying they weren’t necessary, and 18 months later they are now painting their own signs’, he explained.
‘I think I did a better job of it first time around – my markings were broader and took up more of the road.’
Pensioner Laurie Phillips, pictured, who was fined £130 after painting a zebra crossing on a busy road outside his home has claimed his local council took 18 months to paint out their own markings – and they’re not as good as his own DIY efforts
Retired psychotherapist Mr Phillips, 79, bought some white paint and marked out these rectangles on the road which he claims is used by 5,000 cars a day
BEFORE/AFTER: Laurie’s DIY efforts to calm traffic (left) in 2021 compared to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council’s latest ‘slow’ marking (right) in 2022
The road in question leads to Mudeford Quay, which is a beauty spot popular with visitors and as many as 5,000 cars a day use the road.
BCP Council said their new ‘slow’ line markings will keep both road users and pedestrians safe.
Mr Phillips’ crossing was in place for four days and was respected by the traffic who stopped to let people cross, making it ‘dramatically safer’ for his wife Estelle, elderly residents and families with young children.
But council workers then came to wash away the markings and Laurie was reported to the police for ‘criminal damage’.
Mr Phillips labelled the police investigation an ‘unnecessary waste of police time’ which had caused him ‘unnecessary stress’.
He said all that mattered to him was getting a permanent crossing installed at the spot to improve pedestrian safety.
Mr Phillips, a retired psychotherapist, said: ‘The council have painted slow signs on the approach to Mudeford Quay.
‘There are now three painted slow signs on the road which is similar to what I put up in the first place.
‘It is just ironic that they washed away the signs that I made, saying they weren’t necessary, and 18 months later they are now painting their own signs.
‘It is better than nothing, but not much better, as nearly all the cars are still not slowing down.
Pensioner Laurie Phillips painted six white rectangular blocks across the road that he and his disabled wife struggled to cross outside their home in the quaint village of Mudeford, Dorset, in August 2020. He is pictured above with his wife Estelle, 77.
Mr Phillips claimed the council were negligent in their obligation to consider disabled people in the area who would benefit from a zebra crossing. Pictured: His DIY efforts from 2020
BCP Council said their new ‘slow’ line markings will keep both road users and pedestrians safe
‘Not many people are going to reduce their speed for a slow sign, they’ll only do it if there is a speed limit change or a speed camera.
‘They haven’t put up any electronic signs so people will know how many parking are available on the quay and when the car park is full.
‘That would be useful, especially during the summer months as it would stop the endless queues of cars idling as they wait for a parking space.
‘They need to put slow signs on the top road as well as people do come tearing along that road, especially in the evenings.’
He added: ‘Looking back on how I was treated after the temporary zebra crossing, the council were very heavy-handed, it was an over-reaction and it could have been handled much more sensibly.
‘The prosecution was a complete waste of valuable police time, as well as causing unnecessary stress through many delays in the process to me and my wife.’
Mr Phillips, pictured, claims that as many as 5,000 cars a day use the road outside his home in the beauty spot of Mudeford, Dorset
Despite his best efforts, council workers removed his crossing four days later by cleaning away the paint
Mr Phillips alleged that his 77-year-old wife, Estelle, who uses a mobility scooter, (pictured above) and other disabled residents were being discriminated against under the Equality Act 2010
Mr Phillips, who started a 100-signature petition for a zebra crossing, was issued with a community resolution order which he did not fight in the courts as it was ‘not worth the hassle’.
He alleged that his 77-year-old wife, Estelle, who uses a mobility scooter, and other disabled residents were being discriminated against under the Equality Act 2010.
The council said they have received a request to install a zebra crossing and will look into the measure in the next couple of months.
A BCP Council spokesperson said: ‘The ‘slow’ line markings were installed following discussions around what can be done to keep both road users and pedestrians safe on Chichester Way.
‘We are pleased that this has been completed by our lining team as it is still an active safety measure whilst crossing requests are reviewed.
‘We can confirm a crossing request has been submitted for this area. We have many requests to assess but we aim to conduct a site visit in the coming months around April or May.
‘By ‘assess’ we mean visiting the site for a number of hours physically counting all vehicle traffic and pedestrians crossing. We need to carry out these assessments at the busiest time possible, which means we will carry out our visit here when we expect warmer weather and more visitors.’