January 31 2015 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Schoolgirl Martha Seaward had just stepped off a bus and was hit by a lorry moments later, an inquest opening heard this afternoon.
Norfolk Coroner Jacqueline Lake said Martha, 15, of Coronation Road, Holt, was pronounced dead at the scene. She died from extensive injuries caused by last Friday’s accident, on the A148 near its junction with Lodge Hill, at the entrance to Sheringham Park.
Mrs Lake is due to review the case on or before April 15 with a view to fixing a date for the full inquest hearing.
The middle of nine children, Martha was a pupil at Sheringham High School.
Local councillors are now stepping up their long-standing pleas for safety measures on the fast and busy stretch of road.
Representatives from East and West Beckham Parish Council, together with Upper Sheringham Parish Council, and district councillor Anthea Sweeney, will meet North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and county council representatives on Saturday morning near the site of the accident to air their concerns and press for action.
Martha had been heading for a washing-up shift at the Wheatsheaf pub in West Beckham when the accident happened, at about 5pm.
East and West Beckham Parish Council heard at their meeting this week that the bus route used to pass through West Beckham and cross the A148 into Upper Sheringham.
But the West Beckham loop had been discontinued a number of years ago, with cost and the danger of buses crossing the main road given as reasons for the change, according to the parish council.
Councillors are also concerned at the lack of visibility at the junction for cars leaving West Beckham from the Sheringham Road, the increasing volume of traffic on the road - partly due to the popularity of the National Trust’s Sheringham Park - and the fact that the national speed limit of 60mph applies on the stretch.
Parish councillors in East and West Beckham, and Upper Sheringham, say their suggestions for safety improvements - including rumble strips, a 50mph limit, a pedestrian refuge island, flashing sign or mini roundabout - had all been dismissed by county council highways officers citing lack of funding or ineffectiveness.
In a tribute issued through the police, Martha’s grief-stricken family said: “She was a huge character and dearly loved by us all. She will be greatly missed.”
Sheringham High School head teacher Tim Roderick said Martha had been in her final year and about to take her GCSEs.
He added: “Over the coming days we will pull together and find fitting ways to remember such a wonderful student.”