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Family of Peckham man call for swift implementation of Peckham Town Centre Safety Pilot

An Inquest into the death of 74-year-old Peter Allingham concluded that he died due to a road traffic collision. His sister said after the Inquest that she hopes that plans for greater safety measures for pedestrians in Peckham will be implemented quickly.

Coroners Court

12 November 2019

Peter Douglas Allingham died on 4 September 2017 after being struck by a 32 tonne, high cabbed, tipper lorry, while attempting to cross Peckham High Street.

Peter was well known in Peckham, serving 30 years as barman and assistant secretary of the Peckham Liberal Club. He also ran pubs in Soho and Whitehall in the 1970s and was an avid Viking enthusiast. 

The Inquest into his death took place at Southwark Coroner’s Court on 1 November 2019. Peter’s family were keen to understand more about his death especially when they learned that another pedestrian had been killed following a collision involving a HGV close to the spot where he had died, exactly two years earlier.  

Transport for London attended the Inquest and advised that in 2014, Peckham Town Centre was identified as one of two ‘Pedestrian Town Centre Safety Pilots’, as it had experienced a number of fatalities and seriously injured casualties. The primary objective of the scheme was to improve pedestrian safety. However, the Inquest was informed that five years on, the Scheme is only just nearing the end of its “conceptual design stage”.

Transport for London also provided information on their Heavy Goods Vehicle Safety Permit Scheme, which first came in to place on 26 October 2019, and will be a voluntary scheme until 26 October 2020. The Permit Scheme rates HGVs using a star system, from zero (lowest) to five (highest), based on how much a driver can see directly through their HGV cab window, and taking into account the area of greatest risk to people walking and cycling. It aims to encourage vehicle designs that enable drivers to see pedestrians and cyclists directly, rather than having to rely on mirrors or devices. 

Peter’s sister, Dawn Francois, who lives in Australia, said of Peter:

“Peter and I had just been reunited, after we lost touch when I immigrated to Australia. We had regular chats about anything and everything; Peter had a funny sense of humour and had planned to visit me in Australia. Sadly this was not to be. He is greatly missed by friends and family and I am sorry that I did not get to see him again. I very much hope the plans to make Peckham safer for pedestrians are implemented so that lives are not cut tragically short and other families do not have to suffer sudden bereavement as we have.”

Katherine Wilkinson, personal injury solicitor at Leigh Day, who represented Peter’s family at the inquest, said: 

“The inquest found that Peter’s death was due to a road traffic collision. Whilst this was always the most likely outcome, the process enabled Peter’s family to gain more information about the circumstances of his tragic death. Between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were disproportionately involved in 25% of pedestrian fatalities and 63% of cyclist fatalities on London’s streets, despite only making up 4% of the miles driven in the Capital. We welcome Transport for London’s HGV Safety Permit Scheme, together with their plans to make changes to Peckham Town Centre layout, but the changes are long overdue, and we urge that the Pedestrian Town Centre Safety Scheme is prioritised and put in place as soon as possible.” 

Ruth Broadbent of QEB Hollis Whiteman was instructed as Counsel for the family.

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